Velvet-Lined Shackles

PERFORMER: STING

ALBUM: 10 SUMMONER'S TALES

LABEL: A&M RECORDS

THE BOTTOM LINE: The former Police-man rewrites the book of love with an album of puckish passion plays.

Under the polished surface of his pop-star persona, Sting is a hopeless romantic, obsessed with the gritty, contradictory textures of human emotion. During the early 1980s, as the lead singer and lyricist for the Police, the brooding bassist used his poetic gifts to dredge up the debris of his own psyche -- and sell millions of records. After going solo in 1985, he injected jazz and politics into the polyrhythmic mix, but his worldly...

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