Sting ignores physical for digital-only ‘deluxe’ of Nothing Like The Sun
14 bonus tracks but no CD or vinyl
Universal Music Group have recently made available an ‘Expanded Edition’ of Sting’s second solo album, …Nothing Like The Sun, but only via digital services – there is no physical edition.
The 1987 album is arguably Sting’s best solo long-player and was produced by Neil Dorfsman and Sting. It was notably a ‘DDD’ compact disc, meaning it was recorded, mixed and mastered in the digital domain (the third digit was always a ‘D’ given that CD is a digital format!).
The album features the singles ‘We’ll Be Together’, ‘Englishman in New York’, ‘Fragile’ and ‘They Dance Alone’. Remarkably, none of them were top 40 hits in the UK, although ‘Englishman in New York’ did belatedly grace the British top 20 when The Ben Liebrand Remix was issued in 1990. In the US, Sting enjoyed more success and ‘We’ll Be Together’ was a top 10 single and ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’ (uniquely picked as the second single in North America) reached number 15.
The singles produced a reasonable array of remixes, B-sides and edits although these have never appeared on any physical reissue. In the early ’90s, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (MFSL) released an ‘Ultradisc’ 24k gold CD edition (no bonus tracks) and later in that same decade came a ‘Digitally Remastered’ version of Nothing Like The Sun which again had no extra tracks, but did deliver the dubious bonus of a CD-ROM video of ‘Englishman in New York’.
Most interestingly, in 2000 a ‘DTS-CD’ housed a new 5.1 surround mix of the album, for those that had the kit to decode it, but since then, apart from the odd Japanese ‘paper sleeve’ SHM-CD reissue, and reasonably standard vinyl reissues, there’s been little activity.
This new digital expanded edition offers 14 bonus tracks and they are as follows:
• Conversation With A Dog (B-Side of ‘We’ll Be Together’)
• If You There (B-Side of UK 7″ single ‘They Dance Alone’, B-side of US 7″ single ‘Englishman in New York’)
• Up From The Skies (extra track on the US CD single ‘Englishman in New York’ – original release)
• Someone to Watch Over Me (extra track on the US single ‘Englishman in New York’ – original release)
• Ghost in the Strand (B-Side of original UK single ‘Englishman in New York’)
• Englishman in New York (Ben Liebrand Mix – 6.12 version) (from UK 12″ & CD single reissued in 1990)
• Englishman in New York (Ben Liebrand Mix – 4.13 edit) (from UK CD single reissued in 1990)
• Fragile (dj MONK’s Extended Vocal Remix Version) (from 2001 12-inch promo single)
• Fragile (dj MONK’s Radio Edit Version) (from 2001 promo CD single)
• Fragile (dj MONK’s Hard Rain Dub Version) (from 2001 promo 12-inch single)
• Fragile (Bedroom Rockers Remix Version) (from 2001 promo CD single)
• We’ll Be Together (Extended Mix) (from UK CD single)
• We’ll Be Together (Alternate Version) (from UK CD single, aka ‘Previous Version’)
• We’ll Be Together (Instrumental) (from UK CD single)
Yes, those Fragile remixes are out-of-era (not to mention pretty awful) and this gathering of non-album tracks isn’t perfect (where’s the two unique radio edits of ‘Be Still My Beating Heart’?) but this still feels like a slap in the face of the physical music fan. If you are wondering, those 14 bonus tracks would fit comfortably on one single CD, so the obvious question is why didn’t/doesn’t Sting approve this expanded edition of the album for physical release?
There could be many reasons, but given that no other Sting album – with the exception of some very recent output – has been expanded and neither have any of The Police’s five studio albums (although the recent Ghost in the Machine picture disc is a positive nod in that general direction) you have to conclude that Sting does not want to – or perhaps, more accurately, isn’t motivated to – ‘look back’ in this way.
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We are of course still waiting for ‘that’ Regatta De Blanc box set which, in the summer of 2021, Andy Summers told SDE “was coming”. Summers was behind The Police’s Around The World restoration and reissue and so is clearly interested in archival activity, even if drummer Stewart Copeland admitted to this site earlier in 2022 that “Coming back to The Police business is interesting, but it’s not the most exciting thing for us to do”.
These digital expanded editions having been timed around anniversaries. Nothing Like The Sun is 35 years old this year and a Soul Cages one was put up last year for that album’s 30th. Rather like your granny giving you a pair of socks on your birthday, we’ll smile gratefully but hope for something better next year.
You can listen to Nothing Like The Sun (Expanded Edition) on streaming channels or download via various official providers. In the meantime, vote for your favourite Sting album, in the poll above!