Dream Of The Blue Turtles


A&M, 1985


REVIEW BY: Michael R. Smith


“Free free, set them free…”. Ah, the sound of the ‘80s. So begins the debut album by Sting, former member of The Police.

In bringing elements of jazz and classical music into the mix, it is fairly obvious Sting is intent on distancing himself from that previous phase of his career. He doesn’t abandon the Police formula completely, however, as the closer “Fortress Around Your Heart” sounds eerily like a clone of “King Of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” from Synchronicity.

Still, The Dream Of The Blue Turtles is about as good as it gets from Sting.  The two best Sting singles worth mentioning are “If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)” and “Russians.” The former has a great live feel, while the latter has a dark, serious tone and is set to a haunting string symphony. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The other two hits on this album aren’t too shabby, either. The happy and light “Love Is A Seventh Wave” is a welcome return to Sting’s reggae roots and “Fortress Around Your Heart” closes the album as strongly as it began.

The glue that holds all of it together is found in the other six songs. As is typical of most of Sting’s material, it is often dense, challenging and impenetrable, though in this case it is worth the extra effort to sit through it all and even enjoy what you’re hearing. Inspired by Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, “Moon Over Bourbon Street” has a smoky texture and is one of Sting’s slinkiest musical moments. In addition, the hypnotic chimes of “We Work The Black Seam” keep it from becoming disposable filler and “Children’s Crusade” has a sound that can only be described as triumphant.

The lackluster moments are there, but they are forgivable. There is a reworked version of “Shadows In The Rain” from the Police’s Zenyatta Mondatta album, which has an improvised jam feel to it. As one of Sting’s loosest moments, it would have been fine if Sting had just left it at that. But unfortunately, he has to follow it up with the pointless and somewhat obnoxious instrumental title track, which is a brief bit of free-flowing jazz gone awry. Another song that just doesn’t seem to go anywhere is the aptly titled “Consider Me Gone.”

One has to wonder whether Sting made the right decision to disband The Police for a solo career.  The end of “Love Is A Seventh Wave” even finds Sting looking back with a bitter wink and a nod by crafting some new lyrics for his only number one hit, “Every Breath You Take.”  With lines like “Every cake you bake / Every leg you break,” it tells us all we need to know about how bad the band’s unfortunate breakup really was. And while Sting may have eventually gotten over it and simply moved on, it’s doubtful Police fans like myself ever will.

Rating: B+

User Rating: B+



© 2007 Michael R. Smith and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of A&M, and is used for informational purposes only.