The Last Ship

The Last Ship

Sting’s first album of original material since 2003’s Sacred Love, The Last Ship, is also the basis for his late-2014 Broadway production. Sting grew up in the '50s during the dying days of shipbuilding in his town, which was dependent on it. The local industry finally collapsed in the ‘80s. Now Sting pays tribute with a song cycle heavy on Celtic sea chanteys, acoustic instrumentation, and somber, hard-won truths. A lilting song such as “August Winds” and the ballad “I Love Her but She Loves Someone Else” let Gordon Sumner, the vocalist, sing at his purest. “Language of Birds” adds electric guitars and hand drums. Guests such as Jimmy Nail (on the album highlight “What Have We Got?”) and Becky Unthank (“So to Speak”) appear on the standard version, while AC/DC’s Brian Johnson appears on two tracks (“Shipyard,” “Sky Hooks and Tartan Paint”) on the deluxe edition, moving past his heavy metal shriek for the hardness of a dockworker from an earlier time.

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