The last time Sting approached his familial history amidst England’s rusting ship-building days of yore, it was on the occasion of his father’s death. He returns now with larger themes, and an appropriately more wide-open musical palette.
“And Yet,” the second single from Sting’s September 24, 2013 release The Last Ship, doesn’t reanimate the roiling darkness of 1991′s The Soul Cages so much as the fizzy jazz-inflected triumphs of his solo debut, 1985′s Dream of the Blue Turtles.
The track traces the outlines of a hard life lived unfulfilled — but it doesn’t descend into an irretrievable emotional place. Instead, there’s a flinty compositional focus, and a smart musical approachability.
Representing Sting’s first new pop music in a decade or so, The Last Ship was inspired by the former Police frontman’s theater production of the same name — scheduled to open in 2014 on Broadway. More importantly, it’s shaping up to be his most inspired work in decades.