Water, water everywhere - written during lockdown amidst the global pandemic, Sting ruminates on a myriad of concepts and themes centred around water which includes the impact of lockdown, love, loss, separation, disruption and political turmoil through his classic evergreen storytelling style.
Sting’s ‘bridge’ represents an enduring and ever-evolving link between ideas, cultures, continents, and it also represents a passage into his past offering an opportunity for him to revisit the music and places that has shaped his illustrious career so far.
He explains that “These songs are between one place and another, between one state of mind and another, between life and death, between relationships. Between pandemics, and between eras – politically, socially and psychologically, all of us are stuck in the middle of something. We need a bridge.”
Drawing inspiration from a multitude of genres including folk, classical, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, this eclectic album opens up with the soaring, guitar-driven ‘Rushing Water’ which immediately showcases Sting’s trademark melodic invention and vivid imagery.
‘Rushing Water 'really sets the tone and the concept of the album with the lyrics explaining how the river that rages so wildly represents Sting’s fears and anxieties.
For pure unadulterated joy, enter ‘If It’s Love’, an unabashed pop song chock full of infectious handclap coupled with strings that elevate and a brass accompaniment that uplifts. Here Sting compares love to an illness but it remains an incredibly positive and uplifting love song. He says “I’m certainly not the first songwriter to equate falling in or out of love with an incurable sickness, nor will I be the last.”
Love is a common theme with ‘For Her Love’, a lovelorn ballad sounding reminiscent of 1993’s ‘Fields of Gold’ with ‘Loving You’ representing the other end of the love spectrum - a brooding, slightly dark track that tells the story of a jealous partner. ‘Loving You’ is a breezy yet smouldering electronic ballad that shines.
Revisiting the theme of jealousy and infidelity, the Celtic-infused ‘The Hills on the Border’ is laden with strings and synths talks of forgiveness and confrontation.
‘The Bridge’ is so much more than a clever concept album, there are links between each of the songs and the prolific musician takes to the theme like a duck to water (sorry!) and whilst water is the common denominator, it is really about connection - connection between people, life and death and more.
Words: Emma Harrison
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