Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Random Top Ten!!

Random Top Ten!

Top Ten Sting Songs

10. "I Hung My Head" - A chilling, almost emotionless song sung in the first-person, about a man who shoots another man on a whim. Johnny Cash covers this on one of his American Recordings albums.

9. "Brand New Day" - This is the kind of Sting I would expect myself not to like--a bit too poppy and overproduced, but something about the way the melody and the lyric mesh up works very, very well. And that opening, subtle guitar figure is insidious.

8. "Moon Over Bourbon Street" - A cool jazz song about a werewolf, done completely straight-faced. Surprisingly effective.

7. "They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo)" - When U2 and Sting (along with others) toured South America on an Amnesty International tour in the late 80s each was affected by the story of women who would silently protest the injustice of their husbands' and sons' political imprisonment by dancing alone, a poetic means of protest indeed. As much as this U2 super-fan hates to admit it, the song Sting wrote in response is better than the one U2 wrote (Mothers of the Disappeared).

6. "If Ever I Lose My Faith in You" - The single off of Ten Summoner's Tales. A great rhythmic drive and harmonic pulse with a classic Sting high chorus.

5. "Island of Souls" - The opening track to Sting's masterpiece, The Soul Cages (see here for my take on this disc). A wintry song that evokes the hard seashore life of a shipbuilder remarkably well.

4. "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying" - A too-bright and too-happy country tune, complete with spry slide guitar, whose lyrics speak honestly and painfully of the difficulties of being a divorced dad. As a "child of divorce (an icky phrase if there ever was one) myself, lyrics like the below speak to me in a very personal way.

The park is full of Sunday fathers
And melted ice cream
We try to do our best within our given time
A kid should be with his mother
Everybody knows that
What can a father do but babysit sometimes?
Saw that friend of mine
He said, "You look different somehow"
I said, "everybody's got to
Leave the darkness some time. "

3. "Come Down in Time" - Not a Sting song but rather a forgotten Elton John song. Sting covers this on Two Rooms: The Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and it's a superb cover. Just Sting and his bass and a piano. Why this song isn't a cabaret standard I'll never know.

2. "Fragile" -Probably the song that'll be covered most in the decades to come. A beautiful, impeccably structured ballad.

1. "When the Angels Fall" - Sting's epic take on loss of faith. Shattering and quietly beautiful.

Take your father's cross
Gently from the wall
A shadow still remaining
See the churches fall
In mighty arcs of sound
And all that they're containing

Until Whenever


Roger Owen Green said...

Yes, but John R. done stole that song from Gordon.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Who stole what now? You lost me.

Roger Owen Green said...

John R. Cash stole Hung My Head from Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner. Otis Redding was quoted as saying about Aretha something to the effect that her version had become the definitive one, even though he wrote it. "Stole" isn't pejorative here, but praise.

Tosy And Cosh said...

Ah. I have to admit to preferring the original here, though. Raises an interesting question? What covers have become the definitive versions of the song?

Jimi's All Along the Watchtower
Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah


Roger Owen Green said...

How abpou John R's Hurt? Even Reznor thinks so.
I happen to prefer the Pips' Grapevine to Marvin Gaye's, but that might qualify.
Seems that Lefty did something like this on his old blog.