The Last Ship

The Last Ship

by StingSting


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It's an open secret that Sting's interest in songwriting waned after 2003's Sacred Love, an undistinguished collection of mature pop that passed with barely a ripple despite winning a Grammy for its Mary J. Blige duet "Whenever I Say Your Name." Sting spent the next decade wandering -- writing classical albums for lute, recording the frostiest Christmas album in memory, rearranging his old hits for symphony, then finally, inevitably, reuniting the Police -- before finding inspiration within the confines of a musical. The Last Ship tells the tale of a British shipyard in the '80s, one laid low by changing times, so there's naturally an elegiac undertow to Sting's originals, a sensibility underscored by his decision to ground nearly all these songs in the folk of the British Isles. Dockworkers in the '80s may not have been singing folk songs, but the genre is elastic, allowing for single-spotlight soliloquies along with rousing all-cast showcases, like the boisterous "What Have We Got?" Also, by having the bones of his songs belong to folk, Sting can put together a credible album of his own, as the songs from The Last Ship feel intimate in a way he's rarely attempted in his career. He brings in a few guests -- Jimmy Nail and Becky Unthank show up on the standard edition, AC/DC's Brian Johnson, a rock & roll dockworker if there ever was one, shows up on the deluxe -- but the focus is entirely on the songwriter. Occasionally, Sting's desire to inhabit roles within the musical is a little too strong -- not long into the album he adopts either a Scottish or Irish brogue, elsewhere he affects a workingman's vernacular, all the while sounding like nobody else but the posh Gordon Sumner -- but his songs are precise and cannily crafted, bearing the work of a songwriter who is intent on sculpting every line and every melodic progression. Unlike Sacred Love, The Last Ship isn't listless; even when the album is quiet -- which it often is -- Sting is engaged, relishing the different characters that inhabit his musical and seizing the challenge of writing in the longform. It's easy to sling arrows at The Last Ship -- there is a whiff of condescension to some of the blue-collar anthems, the air is often haughty ("The Night the Pugilist Learned How to Dance") -- but this is Sting's tightest collection of songs in ages, and they all play off each other, adding up to a cohesive whole that is surely one of his best latter-day records.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/24/2013
Label: Interscope Records
UPC: 0602537443208
catalogNumber: 001872102
Rank: 59378

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sting   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Cymbals,Vocals,Orchestra Bells
Kathryn Tickell   Violin,Northumbrian Smallpipes,Soloist
Jimmy Nail   Vocals
Bob Carlisle   French Horn
John Barclay   Trumpet
Mark Berrow   Violin
Joe Bonadio   Percussion,Drums
Ira Coleman   Bass
Richard Edwards   Tenor Trombone
Tony Kadleck   Trumpet
Martin Loveday   Celli
Rita Manning   Violin
Rob Mathes   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Conductor,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Dominic Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Anthony Pleeth   Celli
Marcus Rojas   Tuba
Cathy Thompson   Violin
Chris Komer   French Horn
Peter Lale   Viola
Boguslaw Kostecki   Violin
Bruce White   Viola
Andrew Parker   Viola
David Daniels [cello]   Celli
Jeff Kievit   Trumpet
Gavin McNaughton   Bassoon
Richard Watkins   French Horn
Deborah Widdup   Violin
Emlyn Singleton   Violin
Warren Zielinski   Violin
David Pyatt   French Horn
Andy Wood   Euphonium
Julian Sutton   Melodeon
Owen Slade   Tuba
Jon Carnac   Clarinet
Rachel Unthank   Clogs
Thomas Bowes   Violin,Concert Master
Kate Moore   Trumpet
Becky Unthank   Vocals
Jo Lawry   Background Vocals
Mike Davis   Tenor Trombone
Peter Tickell   Mandolin,Violin,Soloist
Tom Rees-Roberts   Trumpet
Nicholas Korth   French Horn
Christopher Tombling   Violin
Gabrielle Lester   Violin
Michael Thompson   French Horn
Richard Harris   Euphonium
Steve Morris   Violin

Technical Credits

Kathryn Tickell   Composer
Sting   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Jimmy Nail   Composer
Ira Coleman   Composer
Rob Mathes   Composer,Producer,Orchestration
Dominic Miller   Composer
Paul Pritchard   Pro-Tools
Danny Quatrochi   Guitar Techician
Donal Hodgson   Engineer
Lars Fox   Engineer
Ken Wilson   Vocal Group
Tom Wilson   Vocal Group
Chris Wilson   Vocal Group
Julian Sutton   Composer
Alex Venguer   Engineer
Becky Unthank   Duet
Jo Lawry   Composer
Dave Hagen   Assistant Music Preparation
Tracy Bufferd   Public Relations
Peter Tickell   Composer
Toby Hulbert   Pro-Tools
Stephen Wilson   Vocal Group
Brett Meyer   Pro-Tools
Regine Moylett   Public Relations
Rael Jones   Pro-Tools
Mike Wilson   Vocal Group
Bridin Murphy-Mitchell   Public Relations
Rich Rich   Pro-Tools
Drew Hodges   Art Direction

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