Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales - 1993

When I got this album, it was the first semester of my sophomore year in college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.  I vividly remember the street I was walking on, and the buildings I was walking between while walking on campus with my headphones on.  So, wanting to be complete and really set the stage for you, I went to Google Maps to specifically find the location so you could see what I saw those two and a half decades ago.  Zooming down to the exact, precise location in my memory on the map, I found myself literally on top of a giant building I had never seen before, in the middle of a garden campus with paths all over.  The entire face of the college has changed.  Some of the buildings are the same, but there is so much that has grown so much in and around what was once downtown Lincoln, it's almost like a cancerous growth.  And people wonder why kids can't afford college anymore.  I would digress, but this isn't the place...

I really liked this album.   Sort of.   I wanted to like it immediately.  And, I did, with IIELMFIY and LISTJ and Fields of Gold.  I said "HOORAY!"  But, slowly, the style and the demeanor of the music changed.  "Gasp!" I said.  "I think Sting's moving into that adult contemporary phase and maturing!  No more rock and roll!"  And, at the time with Grunge, Techno and Madchester in full swing, listening to this one seemed almost boring.

But, as I've listened to it for two and a half decades, I know well that it's an example of Sting's incredible versatility and fearlessness in exploring all musical options.  He has shown incredible strength in writing songs that can inspire and warm the heart, bringing out emotions and conveying them in ways only Sting can. 

After listening to this album as I was working on the cover, I found myself singing Love Is Stronger Than Justice for almost two weeks.  Excellent song.  Love is a big fat river in flood.  Only Sting can do that!


  1. I think Sting lost that real edge when he recorded The Soul Cages. Perhaps it was the death of his parents, the move to the countryside or a good wife and a lot of money, or all of the above. He just seemed more settled living and recording in that castle and the sexual and social angst that pushed his earlier recordings was just not there, he seemed content and the songwriting was a exercise and more of a hobby.... but the hunger was not there, the desire, not the same, he was happy, and good for him. This is a good record, but it did seem to be much more adult, like a pair of comfortable loose fitting jeans, perfect for being played on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. But I still like it. But for me his work from Outlandos D'Amour through Nothing Like The Sun will always be my favorite.

  2. This and "The Soul Cages" are my favorite Sting albums. I loved his early work with the Police, and I've liked his solo work, but this album just .... I don't know how to properly explain it other than to say that it appeals to the romantic in me. The first time I heard "The Shape of My Heart," I literally cried. The song just brought me to tears. It's still one of my favorite songs of his -- and it can STILL make me get a little weepy.

    This is one of those albums that I call "comfort music." Whenever I play it, I feel like I'm wrapped up in a big warm fuzzy blanket, just sitting back sipping a cappuccino and chillin'. It's a relaxing album, and I think there are times when everyone needs music like that.

  3. Thanks a lot!!! Excellent blog!!!