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Reviews: Sting: Sacred Love

Reviews: 13

Review by Morten September 23, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
I have just bought this record that was published on 22 September here in Europe. I find the new record somewhat disappointing without any new classic songs. Furthermore most songs are overproduced. At least to me Sting is at his greatest with a simple song accompanied acoustically. The sound quality is in general fine. Sting’s voice sound like he is right there in your living room. But again the fact that most numbers are overproduced means that the sound f the band(s) gets somewhat muddled. Best is a live version of “Shape of my heat”, where Sting is accompanied by acoustic guitar and cello. This is not only great live music also the sound is incredible. I have never heard a cello like that through my humble stereo. I will surely need to buy Bach’s cello suites when they come in a DSD edition. For that song alone the record is worth its price. (This review is only of the stereo version. Perhaps the multichannel versions opens up the overproduced numbers).

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Review by Marc P September 29, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
In his early solo years I was a huge Sting fan. But I got less and less interested when the years went bye. This is his first solo album I have bought in a couple of years. And to be honest the only reason I bought it was because it was released as a hybrid and I could get my hands on it for cheap.
Listening to the album for the first time the impressions it gave me weren’t favorable for Sting. The whole thing sounded very over produced. The songs weren’t very interesting and the guest appearance of Mary J Blidge might give him some street credibility with younger listeners but it made my skin crawl. The song is absolutely horrible.
Giving the album a few more chances I found myself getting used to the current Sting sound, and some songs are even growing on me. This disc won’t be a favorite, but it will get its fair share of time in my player. The only song I still really dislike is Whenever I say you name, because of the horrible vocals of Mary J Blidge.
Best track could have been Shape of my heart (Live), but for some reason they made it a 2 minute version. What a waste, this way you only get a brief impression of how good this track could have been.
All in all a good buy if you’re a Sting fan, and a ok buy if you’re more or less interested in his work. Sound quality is overall quiet good, or should I say not bad?

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Review by Eric LeRouge October 31, 2003
Performance:   Sonics:
Although I enjoy Sting's albums in general (including the Brand New Day release), and have bought all the DTS reeditions, this album just doesn't cut it.
The music is very predictable (none of the songs really deserve to be published on a good album), the production is uninspired, and the sound is.. too clean. There's not a big difference between the DSD and the CD layers, and, what's worse, the multi-channel mix is boring.

However, it sounds better on headphones, when you can pick a number of small details in the production.

I wish I hadn't bought that one.

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Review by Toni April 13, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
This was a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect much, since I never especially liked Sting's solo albums and the Police has only couple of tracks I like.
The sonics are pure, clear and enjoyable. There is ome harshness on the brights, for ex. in the first track, but overall very good sonics. The multichannel mix is interesting, there's enough action also in the rear channels and Sting's voice is in the center for most of the time.
My favorite songs are the third song (the duet with Mary J. Blige), "Never Coming Home" and "Stolen Car". The album provides big variety on music genres, some tracks have jazzy feeling, some are more like pure pop, "Send your love" has some Indian/Latino influences.
Many Sting fans were disappointed in this album, but I like it and my wife likes it even more. It's quite easy listening music with some nice twists but a bit boring lyrics.

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Review by monotone April 13, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
We all hope in vain that all albums will be released in this fashion - Hybrid SACD as its major format on the release date.

Many fans are disappointed, as Sting became predictable, safe & desperate. From Mercury falling, to Brand New Day, and now Sacred Love, no new grounds seem to be broken musically this time. Not sure whether it was a move for SACD release, but adding the remakes of Shape Of My Heart & Moon Over Bourbon were unnecessary, especially when they actually highlight how good his older songs were. My copy is the Japanese edition, which included Like A Beautiful Smile, a worthy bonus track.

The album does grow on you after a few listens. Outstanding tracks : Never Coming Home, Stolen Car, The Book of My Life and the bonus tracks (old & new).

Sound wise, like most Sting's recordings... outstanding. The album was obviously mastered with surround sound in mind, made full use of it without abusing it. Might not be the best pop SACD around, but certainly one of the better ones. Another album to show off your surround system or the advantage of Stereo SACD over redbook! I think this album too proves his previous releases on DTS sounded far less musical. DTS recordings tend to too clinical, with a hollow core sounding music, in my opinion of cos. Comparing the DTS recordings of Brand New Day & Sacred Love SACD : SACD-1, DTS-0 !

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Review by vandedave@yahoo.com April 30, 2004 (1 of 4 found this review helpful)
"Sacred Love" on SACD is further proof that audiophiles have lousy taste in music. I'm sure the DSD encoding offers superb imaging, a wide soundstage and unparalelled audio fidelity of Sting's new-age whale music.

Thanks, but I'd rather listen to my mangled cassette of "London Calling" on a boombox again.

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Review by Metoo May 2, 2004
Performance:   Sonics:
This record grows on you after listening it for a while. To me the songs that stand out, apart from the two singles spawned from the album, are "Dead Man's Rope", "Never Coming Home", "The Book Of My Life" and to a lesser extent, "Stolen Car." In any case, while somewhat retrospective especially in the case of "Dead Man's Rope", it's lacking the pizzaz of other Sting material.

Yet, there is something that I quite don't like about this record's 5.1 mix: it lacks the clarity I have heard in other albums such as Roxy Music's "Avalon" or Steely Dan's "Gaucho". I don't know the reason why this is so. Another thing I dislike is the grear amount of sibilance (the white noise type) present in the voice.

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Review by DTS Blows July 7, 2004 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Why should you buy this album?
If you're a Sting fan, this album comes as a definite return to form for Mr. Sumner, and follower's of Mr. Sumner's 20+ years career will enjoy "Sacred Love" immensly. Much more consistant and earnest than the comparably light and trivial poppiness of 1999's "Brand New Day," this album finds Sting exploring how relationships effect the ebb and flow of life. Not as starkly personal as (in my opinion) his best work "The Soul Cages," "Sacred Love" is the follow up to "Ten Summoner's Tales" that Sting's 1996 album "Mercury Falling" never was. This SACD is a must for any long time Sting fan...its Gordon at his best.
And if you're NOT a Sting fan, this album has plenty of reasons for you to be one. The album is fresh and creative, something lacking in most adult pop nowadays. And yes, this album really is adult pop; Music for the thinking person, if you will. So, if you're tired of all that crap that passes as Adult Pop...Celine Dion, I'm looking in YOUR direction...then do yourself a favor--fix yourself a drink, sit back, and let "Sacred Love" chill you out.
Oh...and the sound quality is impeccible. I have a B&W 5.1 system, Rotel components, custom cables, and the sound is positively ORGANIC. Thanks Sting...but where is your early work on SACD? I can only find "Nothing Like the Sun" and "Ten Summoner's" on DTS, but no others are available?? C'mon A&M, the fans need their 5.1 Sting fix!!

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Review by SurroundGod July 15, 2004 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Not one of Sting's best albums. The audio is heavily over-produced and has a bit of a gritty, digital-like texture to it. The surround mixing is of much better quality on the DVD-Audio of Brand New Day and the DTS CD (yet to be released on SACD or DVD-Audio) of Ten Summoner's Tales and Nothing Like The Sun. I don't know if any of that can be blamed on the conversion from 24/96 PCM masters to DSD or not (not having the DVD-Audio version on which to compare; that has the pure 24/96 PCM recording intact).

The remastered DSOTM from the 70's sounds much better! When will audiophile recording sensibilities really come to the pop/rock genre???

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Review by chriscmore October 14, 2004 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
For this huge Sting, surround and DSD fan, this album was a complete miss, miss, miss. The music is completely uninspired drivel, lacking in any originality, passion, or really much effort at all. Much like Mercury Falling, after two listens it was obvious that this was bound for eBay. I hope this isn't a trend, but Sacred Love seems to be one of those late-career, half-hearted, bored rich artist formulaic, committee-driven pieces of white bread. Sting's consistancy of performance has eroded from his early brilliant to really good swings, to his present really good to really bad swings. I think things started going to hell with that Robin Hood single with Stewart and Adams.

Sonically, this is a pass as well. If you want good DSD surround Sting, go get Brand New Day and continue hoping that his best work - Soul Cages, Nothing Like the Sun, Dream of the Blue Turtles, and Ten Sumners Tales - will get the Brand New Day remixing and remastering treatment. But Sacred Love has little to offer sonically, with it's grade-C sonic qualities (compression, sibilance, digital hash, etc.) being only mildly interesting, listening to very talented studio musicians march through Sting's weakest compositions.

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Review by dbfarr63 March 9, 2005 (0 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I disagree with mr chricmore. STING doesn't do Police songs anymore. He has matured and the music he is producing is more to the 30-40's genre and not the thrashy Police songs (not that they weren't good for their time). This album had some strong tracks, "Send Your Love" is a stand out as is "This War". The multichannel sacd version of this album is a must for any STING fan.

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Review by pchichi August 8, 2006 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I'm not a fan of Sting. I just like the hits he made. I would be more a Sting compilation buyer...

I'm crazy for multichannel and I bought this SACD since there are not a lot of them that may interest me.
I didn't read the review; I should have. I didn't listen to it on itunes; I should have. (PS : Nonetheless, after one week of listening to it everyday, I like it a little bit more)

The duet with Mary J. Blige upsets me as well (but less on the Cd layer version). Transitions between titles are not welcomed...

The second part of the album is more interesting but not surprising. "Stolen car" "The book of life" are the ones I prefer.

The sound of the Multichannel version is not very dynamic, and consequently the listening becomes quickly taxing.
Worse, on the CD layer, I discovered sounds that are completed stifled on the SACD surround version (for example the whispers voices on the 10 seconds of the begining of "Inside").

The surround channels are not really used...
"Send you love" remixed (even though not a great remix) brings something more wide and dare going on the surround speakers. "Shape of my heart" has a nice presence.

if they had used the surround, "The book of my life" would have been a gem. Too bad !

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Review by duchski October 13, 2008 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
In short: an uninspiring, overenegineered dull album. Very weak. C'mon Sting, you can do better than that!
To prospective buyers: just buy Brand New Day instead - it is not the best of his albums but much better than this....

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