By David Chiu
Sting has come a long way from the early punk and art rock sound that he forged as a member of the Police. His music as a solo artist has certainly matured from that first phase of his career, embracing along the way jazz, R&B, world, dance-electronic, and singer-songwriter pop. 25 Years is a new 3-CD collection that spans his solo career from 1985’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles through last year’s Symphonicities. The result is a consistent and successful body of work that has lasted far longer than’ the Police’s brief output. The music from Sting’s first three albums certainly reflect a serious- and social-mindedness–albeit with pop hooks –whether it’s the Cold War sentiment of “Russians,” the driving “Fortress Around Your Heart,” the haunting ballads “Fragile” and “They Dance Alone,” and the aching “Why I Should I Cry For You.” Then starting with the release of the wonderful Ten Summoner’s Tales, Sting emerged as a mainstream, romantic-sounding pop star thanks to accessible and warm tunes like the poppy “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You,” the gorgeous “Fields of Gold,” the soulful “I Hung My Head,” and the arresting and exotic “Desert Rose.” His most recent works such as the tracks from Symphonicities still finds the man pushing boundaries by revisiting his songs in an orchestral setting (“Next to You,” “We Work the Black Seam”) . The fourth disc on this set is a DVD from a show at New York’s Irving Plaza in 2005. 25 Years is an apt summation of a career that should give serious Sting a serious consideration for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame again, this time as a solo artist.