If Bono left U2 after Joshua Tree for a solo career, he could’ve ended up like Sting: a hopelessly compromised, self-indulgent shell of an artist who needs binoculars to spot his last worthwhile contribution to the musical canon. Like his similarly self-serious, mono-monikered mate, Sting cocooned himself in his sense of self-importance while steadily sliding into a jazzy adult-contemporary morass appropriate for graying, ponytailed boomers and tastes lightweight enough to require a paperweight. His excursion into worldbeat is more Club Med than Graceland, and his last hit was courtesy a car commercial, though at least that album (Brand New Day) possessed some musical lightness. Everything else—particularly 2001’s follow-up Sacred Love —groans under the weight of fussy, overwrought production and Sting’s somber pretense.
Sat., Jan. 30, 7:30pm. $200. Academy of Music. 240 S. Broad St. 215.893.1999. academyofmusic.org
PW's Music Issue 2014