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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > May-18 > STING & SHAGGY 44/876

STING & SHAGGY 44/876

STARFISH AND COFFEE, MAPLE SYRUP AND JAM. NOW YOU CAN ADD STING & SHAGGY TO THE LIST OF IMPLAUSIBLE COMBINATIONS THAT MAY NEVER BE FORGOTTEN…

POLYDOR RECORDS

BEST NEW RELEASE

“The world is teeming,” John Cage once said. “Anything can happen.” The minimalist composer might be an unlikely person to turn to when faced by a Sting and Shaggy collaboration – though his legendary, silent 4’33” might seem preferable – but to do so is no more unlikely than the idea that such a collaboration might work. And Cage is right: anything can happen, has happened, and no doubt will continue to happen. All we can hope is that what happens is as entertaining as this seemingly absurd partnership has turned out to be. Because, against the odds, there’s endless fun to be found here.

The title track sets the tone from the start, Shaggy toasting about how the duo first hooked up. “Mi get a call from the English man,” he recalls, “say him waan come hold a vibes”, before Sting himself explains his motivation: “I’m trying to free my mind, and live a life stress free/ But the politics of this country are getting to me.” Not only is the exchange likeably humble, but Sting’s voice is particularly well-suited to the setting.

Furthermore, 44/876 – named for their respective dialling codes – could indeed be helpful for those looking to unwind, unless your cynicism is so ingrained that you can’t see past the concept.

Partly, this is because it isn’t so great a leap from Sting’s early work with The Police. That’s especially true of Dreaming In The USA, a delightful celebration of immigrants’ roles in American life that’s only a fraction too upbeat and glossy to have slotted onto Outlandos d’Amour, and Waiting For The Break Of Day, in which, against tasteful piano and organ licks – and in the face of politicians’ lies – comfort is found in romance.

The charmingly tasteful 22nd Street dials down the reggae for something slicker and sparser, while Sad Trombone heads in the other direction, turning its laughable title into something genuinely poignant.

In truth, the first fruit of their association – the laidback, soulful Gotta Get Back My Baby – is perfectly indicative of what’s to be found here, so take a shortcut if you must. But, rest assured, some things have to be tried to be believed. Anything can happen, and 44/876 defies expectations.

Wyndham Wallace

CHVRCHES LOVE IS DEAD

VIRGIN RECORDS

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About Classic Pop

In the new Classic Pop we celebrate 30 years of Kylie Minogue – from the PWL early days through to the iconic noughties classics and her new No.1 album, Golden. We also take an in-depth look at Kylie’s Fever for our Classic Album feature. As a special treat for Kylie fans, we have an exclusive limited edition special fan pack issue of the magazine available with four fantastic A4 glossy art cards of the star. Subscribers will receive an exclusive version of the issue with a collectable cover. Elsewhere, we are granted a rare audience with Scritti Politti's Green Gartside, we serve up our Top 15 sophisti-pop albums of all time and Prefab Sprout feature in The Lowdown. We chat to Kim Appleby about her new TV show and the prospect of new music; Sophie Ellis-Bextor talks to us about her new album of orchestral reworkings of her back catalogue and Daphne & Celeste return to the pop fray. Our album reviews section features Sting and Shaggy, CHVRCHES and Alison Moyet. This month’s reissues section includes John Foxx, The Human League and Brian Eno. On the live front, we check out gigs by Erasure, Morrissey, Paul Weller and Lloyd Cole.