Sting Showcases Dynamic Range Via Collaborations On ‘Duets’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

With his fifteenth solo album, Sting’s Duets is a fluid journey between other collaborators with touches of inspiration from a plethora of genres, all while boasting that finesse and swagger that’s immortalized in his past work.

The collection opens up with a strong three-punch of songs with Melody Gardot, Eric Clapton, and Mylène Farmer. The opener, “Little Something,” with Gardot sets the tone for the project with a quarantine-recorded song that’s fun and beaming with a suave melody. Its bright and uplifting sound is something that is mirrored with the chemistry boasted by the two on the track.

As the project continues on, Sting moves to sample some of his own work on the album’s fifth track with Craig David. It samples his own fingerpicking from 1993’s “Shape Of My Heart”. Repurposing older works and reliving older songs via covers are what make Duets an album that will speak to fans of Sting’s earliest solo work and fans of The Police. Its merit lay in how these songs are able to explore the collaborative efforts between all sorts of artists from different generations and backgrounds. This idea is echoed on “Desert Rose” with Cheb Mami or “Fragile” with Julio Iglesias. 

In keeping with the duet nature of the album, songs with other notable figures emerge such as the celebrated “Reste” with GIMS, or “Don’t Me Wait” with Shaggy. The latter having originally appeared on 2018’s joint project with Shaggy, renews the notion that this album is a collection of great collaborations and cannot be treated as a cohesive body of work. 

This collection of tracks that crosses genres and languages is the heart of Duets. Whether it’s covers, rejuvenating his older works, or bringing someone from a different language onto the track, Duets is a space where the music is about having fun and sounding good.


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