The Soul Cages


A&M, 1991

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


I really enjoy Sting’s solo work. However, it is sometimes dispassionate, distant and remote, technically proficient but emotionally bloodless. When he breaks through that dispassion, the work that results is often spectacular.

The Soul Cages -- my favorite Sting CD -- is a perfect example of that breakthrough. For an hour or so of introspection, Sting’s emotions are accessible, almost naked at times, and as listeners we can share in that and really touch the heart of the music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Soul Cages was written on the heels of Sting losing his parents, and the theme of loss and memory runs woven through the CD. Almost echoing that thread is the sound of the CD; it is deep, rich, carefully produced to catch hold of the listener without disrupting the emotional current. It manages to be smooth without being slick, retrospective without being maudlin, and in that it is brilliant.

The CD opens with “Island Of Souls,” a wistful and haunting tale of a father and son’s parting and loss, laden with Breton pipes and other almost-Celtic instrumentation. The theme of the sea appears here for the first time, and on The Soul Cages it is used as a constant reminder of the unknown, of loss and of the unexplored country between death and life. That same wistfulness reappears on “Why Should I Cry For You,” “The Wild Wild Sea” and “When The Angels Fall” -- in the world of The Soul Cages, things and people get lost and we’re never really told why.

The truly powerful tracks are where that wistful sadness becomes catalyzed by anger -- specifically “Mad About You” and the title song. “Mad About You” is a dark tale of obsession and loss intermixed with witty turns of phrase and intense disturbing imagery, and “The Soul Cages” is a guitar-laded retelling of the Welsh myth that tells of sailor’s souls being kept under the sea by the merrow when they are lost in a shipwreck. Both are exhilarating, fierce and just powerful enough to keep The Soul Cages from drowning in its own introspection.

In summary, The Soul Cages is a powerful CD, a work of art both in its individual songs and in being viewed as a single entity. A memorial for lost parents, it is a fitting tribute and a wonderful piece of work.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Duke Egbert 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.