Sting, biochemical love, loss of mind.

Sting is an example of an artist with a strong personality needing other strong personalities for balance/combat to create better art. The Police was a better act than Sting as a solo artist because the band had two people who could tell Sting to shut up.

Yet I poured over his first two solo albums, so great was the devotion to The Police. Grant me wisdom! Musical genre dabbling! Dribblings of wisdom! Then realized he was a dork. A slow period of acceptance.

I laughed when he appeared in diapers extolling the virtues of yoga in the early 90s (I later took on yoga). His tantric sex boast about maintaining a state of orgasmic arousal for four hours caused tittering across our Puritan nation (including me). Now? Dude, if you can manage it, bully for you. When I made that boast in Oregon shopping malls instead of MTV, it failed to pay dividends.

Sting claps during the Nothing Like the Sun tourWhen the song "Straight to My Heart" off his second late-1987 solo album Nothing Like the Sun came up as a topic, my girlfriend at the time and I mocked Sting (not around to defend himself) about being so showy over writing a pop song with a 7/8 time signature. In the Nothing Like the Sun tour, he had a little drill for the audience to teach us all to clap in 7/8 time. Nailed it! I can also clap on the 2/4 and 4/4 (noted on my résumé) but for genetic reasons cannot clap on country music's 1/4 and 3/4 (not noted on résumé).

Video below is from a "Symphonicity" tour he did a few years ago. Sting/Police songs played backed by a symphony. I refused to attend, for religious/aesthetic reasons over the title. Haven't gone to a Sting show for over 20 years. Yet on top of that "Synchronicity" = "Symphony" = "Symphonicity"? Yeesh.

YET, years later, I find myself charmed by the song. (1988 Me and Then-Girlfriend laugh at Present Me. I nod obeisantly, then turn with a grin and think: "Oh, brother, what you've got coming...") The song is a defiance of the knowledge that romance is a state caused by biochemistry, not metaphysics.

A sub atomic chain
Will maybe galvanize the brain
A biochemic trance
Will eliminate romance

But why ever should we care

When there are arrows in the air
Formed by lovers' ancient art
That go straight to my heart

Here are lyrics that would make a great Valentine's Day card:

But what will make me yours
Are a millions deadly spores
Formed by lovers' ancient art
That go straight to my heart


In an interview Henry Rollins did with Howard Stern years ago, he shared many insights. Two that have stuck: 1.) U2 may have the worst rhythm section of any major rock act 2.) Sting is a wickedly talented person, but if you buy a Sting CD then you have pretty much given up on music.

As "Straight to My Heart" has earwormed me the last couple of days, I have to allow for my own aesthetic/mental entropy. It's possible to draw a straight line to a day when I will be in an old folks home (as an old folk) standing on a chair and singing Sting's song "Russians" at the top of my lungs until the orderlies are summoned. Present Me mourns Future Me's diminished mental state, but nods at what a kind of small bad ass moment that would be.