Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994
As a solo artist, Sting has carried himself with the grace of an aristocrat, retaining his air of dignity no matter what the musical setting. Jazz, blues, folk, and theater music influences have all helped to shape his post-Police sound. The far corners of his creative forays are touched upon on Fields of Gold, a gathering of tracks from his first four solo albums. Taken together, these recordings are impressive for their austere beauty and flashes of insight, combining an immaculate sonic finish with a firm grasp of classic songcraft. Sting’s chameleon-like ability to adapt his vocal persona to wildly different settings serves him well — from the shadowy ambiance of “Moon over Bourbon Street” to the footloose bounce of “Englishman in New York” and the supper-club elegance of “It’s Probably Me,” he moves through scenes like a consummate actor. His romantic tunes — especially “Love is the Seventh Wave” — combine a fierce yearning with dreamy detachment. There’s little straight-ahead rock here, though “We’ll Be Together” gets legitimately funky. Finest of all is the title number, a haunting jaunt across Celtic landscapes. These tracks may not resolve Sting’s contradictions, but they do affirm the depth of his talent.