The Words and Music of Sting

The Words and Music of Sting

The Words and Music of Sting

The Words and Music of Sting


Gable provides an analysis of the songs, recordings, and influence of one of the most important singer-songwriters in Western popular music over the past twenty years.


It’s very hard to talk about music in words. Words are superfluous
to the abstract power of music. We can fashion words into poetry
so that they are understood the way music is understood, but they
only aspire to the condition where music already exists.

—Sting, “The Mystery and Religion of Music”
(Berklee College of Music commencement address,

May 15, 1994)

What is music? It’s a journey.

—Sting, The Journey & the Labyrinth:
The Music of John Dowland

In late 2006, many Sting fans were perhaps surprised that his new album was a recording of Renaissance lute songs by John Dowland. Here was an international superstar, a veteran of the music and film industries, an environmental and human rights activist and award-winning songwriter with a practically guaranteed fan base, sitting down with a Bosnian lutenist to sing 400-year-old love songs. But, after the initial surprise, those who were familiar with Sting’s career trajectory could undoubtedly see the logic behind his new choice of repertoire. For he has always been a risk-taker, both professionally and artistically. His restless energy has served him well and forced him on to hitherto unforeseen paths. He has described himself as a lifelong learner, and this curiosity has not let him stagnate for lack of creative direction. Sting’s . . .

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