Friday, September 21, 2018

Sting's "Songs From the Labyrinth"

by Caitlin McGuire (writer), Orange County, October 27, 2006


Listening to the October 10 Deutsche Grammophon release of "Songs From the Labyrinth" will not earn you street credit, unless your goal is to impress classical lute players. Sting teamed up with legendary lutenist and guitarist Edin Karamozov to produce “Songs From the Labyrinth,” which features the songs and words of John Dowland (1563-1626), an Elizabethan composer. Sting, who was introduced to the work of John Dowland in the early eighties, has made a prolific amount of music, having sold over 20 million CDs in the U.S. alone. Sting breaks new (and at the same time, ancient) ground with his debut into the classical world.
In “Songs From the Labyrinth’s” press release, Sting remarks that the songs of John Dowland “are pop songs written around 1600 and I relate to them in that way; beautiful melodies, fantastic lyrics and great accompaniments.” Similar to sonnets set to chords, “Songs From the Labyrinth” cannot easily be compared to the latest Britney Spears tune, which is only one of two misconceptions Sting made before beginning the album – the second: he himself was not prepared to accompany the skilled luting of Karamozov. While the vocalist on such classical albums is generally a talented and renowned, but faceless and clichéd, tenor, Sting applies a refreshing, accessible and familiar voice to an album that would otherwise be cast out to the opera section, never to be seen again.
The track list is sound; while the recitations may be ignored (unless you are truly interested in Dowland’s life, or you just like the sound of Sting’s voice), the remaining songs are excellent. Check out “Can She Excuse My Wrongs.” Karamozov strums on his lute in a manner than even the most skilled of guitarists would enjoy. “Come Again” best showcases the skills of Sting’s singing as he begs Dowland’s lover to come back while “I sit, I sigh, I weep, I faint, I die/In deadly pain and endless misery.” Was John Dowland the original Dashboard Confessional? All in all, Sting’s new album, “Songs From the Labyrinth,” is only for those brave souls whom are willing to get lost in a new world: where classical stringed instruments reign supreme, recitation is an appropriate track, and “thee” is a valid pronoun.

About the Writer

Caitlin McGuire is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Sting's "Songs From the Labyrinth"

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By Annonymous on October 28, 2006 at 11:31 am
I liked this one too.
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By Annonymous on October 29, 2006 at 12:42 pm
I don't really listen to his music, but I respect him for making it. ;-)
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