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Sting offers a digital-only expanded edition of The Soul Cages

Digital ‘deluxe’ confirms Sting’s lack of interest in physical reissues

An expanded edition of Sting‘s 1991 album The Soul Cages has been released digitally and on streaming services.

The album, which is 30 years old on Sunday in the UK (21 January in America), spawned the singles ‘All This Time’, ‘Mad About You’, ‘The Soul Cages’ and ‘Why Should I Cry For You’. ‘All This Time’ was a top five single in the USA, but only a minor hit elsewhere.

‘Mad About You’ failed to crack the UK top 40 which may seem surprising (especially since it’s a great track) but people tend to forget that Sting’s solo singles were largely unsuccessful in the UK in the 1980s and things only improved in the 1990s. If you want some statistics, of the ten singles released from 1984’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles and 1987’s Nothing Like The Sun only THREE charted (and one of those was a late-in-the-day remix of ‘Englishman In New York’). ‘All This Time’ peaked at 22 in the UK which was pretty good for Sting. Hugh Padgham produced The Soul Cages.

Thirteen bonus tracks are offered with this digital expanded edition with the label claiming that seven of them have never been made available before digitally, either via streaming or download (some of them have been on CD, so it’s not a true digital debut).

The selection has thrown up some oddities. None of the three bonus remixes of ‘Mad About You’ were issued commercially. They all come from a US promo CD and were remixed by Sting’s guitarist Dominic Miller (stick to the day job) and Vinnie Colaiuta (the drummer, who played on the next album, Ten Summoner’s Tales, but not The Soul Cages). Weird, but welcome, I guess. On the other hand, the actual single remix of ‘Mad About You’ which was on EVERY format issued isn’t included. Go figure.

The selection also omits live bonus material that was featured on singles from this album but stems from another era. So no ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me (live)’ or ‘Walking In Your Footsteps (Live)’ (from ‘The Soul Cages’ single), no ‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free (live)’ (from ‘Mad About You’), no ‘King of Pain (live)’ (from ‘All This Time’) and no ‘Sister Moon (live)’ (from ‘Why Should I Cry For You’).

 
Back of the ‘Mad About You’ promo CD shows the provenance of those remixes.

We do get the Elton John cover ‘Come Down In Time’, instrumentals ‘I Miss You Kate’ and ‘Oo La La Hugh’ along with some foreign language versions and the relatively rare Extended Mix of ‘Why Should I Cry For You?’.

It’s not perfect, but if this was a bonus CD on a two-disc set I think most people would think it was a decent effort. Of course, this begs the question, why isn’t there a physical release, 30 years on?!

I don’t know the answer, but will simply guess that by the total lack of archival activity (save for the disappointing 25 Years) Sting is simple not interested. He’s willing to let the record company make these available online, but that’s your lot. I do not expect any kind of physical release to follow.

Pretty disappointing, although if Sting was going to kick off a physical reissue campaign I doubt he’d start with The Soul Cages. I will probably reluctantly pay to download these tracks, if only because of those promo selections. It still makes sense to do this because who knows how long this may stick around on streaming services? Of course, I’d much rather be buying a physical product. Digital deluxe editions are, by definition, a misnomer.

This expanded edition of Sting’s The Soul Cages is available digitally right now.

1. Island Of Souls
2. All This Time
3. Mad About You
4. Jeremiah Blues (Part 1)
5. Why Should I Cry For You
6. Saint Agnes And The Burning Train
7. The Wild Wild Sea
8. The Soul Cages
9. When The Angels Fall

Bonus tracks

10. I Miss You Kate (Instrumental) – From the ‘All This Time’ CD single
11. Come Down In Time* Elton John cover from the Two Rooms album
12. Tempted (Live)* – From the ‘Mad About You’ CD single
13. Ne Me Quitte Pas (Live)* From the ‘Why Should I Cry For You ‘ CD single
14. Oo La La Hugh* From the ‘Soul Cages’ CD single
15. Mad About You (Original Remix)* -From the ‘Mad About You’ US promo CD single
16. Mad About You (Remix Edit)* From the ‘Mad About You’ US promo CD single
17. Mad About You (12″ Remix) * From the ‘Mad About You’ US promo CD single
18, Mad About You (Italian Version) From the ‘Why Should I Cry For You ‘ Japanese CD single
19. Why Should I Cry For You (Spanish Version) From the ‘Why Should I Cry For You ‘ Japanese CD single
20. Why Should I Cry For You (Extended Mix) From the ‘Why Should I Cry For You ‘ Japanese CD single
21. The Soul Cages (Edit) From the ‘Soul Cages’ CD single
22. All This Time (Edit) From various All This Time singles, including the 7″

* Not Previously Available Digitally

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118 Comments

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James in Canada

My favourite Sting album. I was really hoping for a bells and whistles physical release to honour the anniversary. I foresaw an extensive package which included The Last Ship. Much preferred over a Duets album.

Oh well.

Gisabun

Maybe it’s just me but Sting and/or his label and/or his management has made one mistake after another.
Purchase a digital [and MP3s at that] of an album and leave out other tracks?
No physical release?
An incomplete Duets album. There is supposedly a bootleg “Duets” album with something like 45 tracks. More than double the delayed Duets release.
However, knowing how Sting [and others] have worked, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Duets deluxe edition will be released later this year.
Then there was the less than desirable 25 album.
Then there was the Shaggy album which I believe a deluxe release came later. Same for 57th and 9th.
According to Wikipedia, only 2 of 10 singles released since 2010 have charted and they barely.

Peter

First thing to remember is that it’s not the artist who decides to issue an archive release, it’s the record label that do that. Then the artist can choose to cooperate if he/she likes.
Sting isn’t clearly interested in those marketing choices, so he simply lets his record label do what it want without cooperating.
Sting’s label embraced the politics already applied to Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel recent archive releases where all b-sides and stray tracks have been assembled and put for sale as download only.
It’s not a bad move in my opinion. They are quite cheap and the sound has not been manipulated too much, so the dynamics of the music have been left intact.
Sting’s The Soul Cages Expanded has an average of DR10 for the actual album tracks, which is not that bad for today standards, but the extra material scores a surprising DR13, which means those songs have been taken from the original unremastered sources.
I’m hoping Dream Of The Blue Turtles and Nothing Like The Sun will follow this path.

Peter

In fact, i said ”he simply lets his record label do what it want without cooperating”.
He just approves what the label decides to do without offering his input.

RMJ

Paul,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing Qobuz to everyone’s attention. I was one of their early fans in the US (accessing their services through a VPN) and have remained a huge fan of their quality. I think it appeals to a different audience than Spotty does.

Oddly, this release is not available on their (Qobuz) iPhone app but it is on the desktop one (as of 10:45AM EST)

Chandler

Mad About You 12″ Remix is absolute dogswallop – oh those half arsed crap chords ruining the beautiful sax melody – dear oh dear – and then a sh8tty fade out? The future should be to give us the stems of the album to make our own versions. THEN YOU CAN HAVE MY WALLET!

Different Time

The replies to Sting’s tweet announcing this release are overwhelmingly positive. Those crying out for a physical release should question how many times they’d actually listen to these extras. Time to move on and stop fretting about a few bonus tracks for what is ultimately an inconsequential album. Spend the money you’ve saved on something worthwhile that will get more than a couple of spins instead of another dust gathering box.

Different Time

Nothing’s changed. Of course I want a CD issued when labels / artists go to the effort of a physical release but decide to go down the vinyl only route. If there is no physical release then I’m content with a digital release. I’m geared up for it and have a CD quality (FLAC) subscription to Deezer.

Nathan Thomas

Paul sees all – and WILL take you down ! Lol

Scott G

I suspect that in the not to distant future Paul will be reporting a new physical release, no doubt a coloured double vinyl or something.
I am a Qobuz subscriber. It is a superb streaming service especially the availability of 24bit releases which can often be purchased for less than standard CD 16bit quality.
I am also a bit of a Sting fan but would not purchase the 16bit CD quality download. This is 2021, it’s time Sting make available/release his music catalogue in 24bit Studio Master. Or perhaps Qobuz are not prepared to pay the licensing fee.
As for the argument that Streaming isn’t exactly great for the environment then you might as well say the Internet, Mobile 3/4/5G, etc. isn’t exactly great for the environment either. So, hands in the air, who wants to turn those off?

Cat People

Big police and sting fan here – ironically, he has got quite an excellent amount of demos, b sides and live and rare tracks that he could put together as an impressive accompaniment to the Sting Complete studio collection album. He could also re release the lovely Bring on the Night – but I guess, as a zillionaire, with each child their own millionaire from touring, fashion industry roles they picked, there isn’t much incentive for him to think of us and what we might want! ;)

Chris Squires

me final tuppence.

Plus, of course, with having a half decent physical product in simple CD / LP or Super deluxe ‘guise, you get the chance to pick up sales from a good number of people who just like well made physical product.
Did I own or listen to any Slade before I bought their “When Slade Ruled the World” box set? No.
Did I own or listen to any Sparks before I bought their “The Island Years” box set? No.
Repeat with Chris Difford, Nick Cave, Matt Berry, Donald Fagan and so on.

Dozens of artists I have picked up on, not initially through the actual music which I had barely heard or not at all, but because there was a nice piece of physical media which got listened to and that was reported on here, on SDE.

I do try to understand those who say “It should be all about the music”, however that’s rather like saying “it’s all about getting to the destination” and we shouldn’t have cars and it should all be public transport as that will still get you there. Music isn’t just “all about the music” for me and it never has been. Not since I bought my first picture disc (Tubular Bells – 1979) or my first double pack single (Gentlemen Take Polaroids) a couple of years later. Who wasn’t disappointed to find a single they wanted to buy in 1978 didn’t have a picture sleeve and was only in a black corporate sleeve or even more to the point who didn’t change the single they bought with their birthday quid because one had a picture sleeve and one didn’t. It matters.

How on earth is Sting going to reach as much as one single new fan through a digital only release.

Nathan Thomas

I’m not sure there are many people like you, who will pay £100, £200, £300 for a box set without ever listening to the artist beforehand, just because they saw a post about a ‘nice piece of physical media’.

If I hear of a new artist who interests me I stream their work first & if I like it I may buy a physical copy , if I love it I may buy a box set, if I don’t like it I’ll probably not return to it.

Surely it is far more likely that Sting will ‘reach at least a single new fan’ who may stumble across his work on a digital site than your argument that a person will seemingly walk into a store & put down cash for a physical album from an artist they have never heard of before because they liked the look of a piece of packaging ?!

Chris Squires

That’s a bit of an extrapolation from my post Nathan, but fair enough I take your point.

a) I haven’t bought anything physically in a store for a very long time
b) The most expensive work I have done this for is around the £100 mark, the majority of it will be a single / double vinyl album at around £15 to £30.
c) The only place I hear about stuff like this is here on SDE, I have been here for about 7 years now and have a level of trust in Paul’s recommendations and taste as it is similar to mine and my age group, and I trust from that recommendation that I will probably like it too.
d) I will also read the other posts as well and if there are positive noises I will go for it, yes there are some clunkers but there is a 90%+ hit rate and then you get stuff like Kankyo Ongako that I would never have come across or even contemplated I took a £60 punt and it is one of my favourite sets.
e) I would be mad to say that I had *never* heard of the artists so I have a rough idea of what Slade is about from growing up in the UK, so was buying a £100 box set because of an SDE article about it where it had been voted as 2015 / 2016 “Special Catalogue Release of the Year” at the national Independent music trade awards such a risk?
I’d never heard a Chris Difford solo record but the recommendations from Paul and the other readers was enough for me to take a £40 punt for the front man of a really great group. Would I have bothered or would I even have found out about it if there were no physical item to buy.

The best analogy I can come up with is that SDE is almost like my “Reader’s Digest Music Club” of the 1970s / 1980s. I don’t have the time or the inclination to research lots and lots of music, I certainly have very little time for much modern music. So the recommendations made here have caused me to spend a not-insignificant amount of money over the last 7 years without resorting to spending time on Spotify first (I can’t say I haven’t done that at times, but the longer I am here the more I trust other’s judgement).
I will never buy a download, never have to this point and I can’t imagine doing so in the future. So taking away ANY possibility of a physical release will take away a whole layer of potential purchases, even if it is just me. And a good physical Super Deluxe release will get people like me (or maybe just me) to buy even if I am not a previous fan.

So whilst I agree with your last paragraph, you are correct, I would never seemingly wander into a shop and put down cash for a physical album because I liked the look of a piece of packaging….. That is not something I’ve ever done and wasn’t something I said I had ever done or ever would do. Similarly your extrapolation to £200, £300. Never have, never will, seemingly or otherwise. £100 tops and haven’t regretted a single day of my time here even with the odd clunker (no names mentioned to protect the innocent.

Helmut

Well, I’m just happy I’m not a Sting fan. But then again I’m on this site because I love physical releases and I guess that goes for basically everyone else here. So we’re all bound to be more or less unhappy with this release. All the more I love this site. It gives us service and offers us a voice.

Phil Aston

For collectors, it goes beyond the music and especially for re-issues. The physical package is a huge part of the draw. The packaging, the essay, the memorabilia all form part of the experience in bringing the memories or new experience to the album.
By all means, make it a short run but to ignore this part of your fan base seems shortsighted.
Phil

Ian Smith

If the artists don’t care about preserving their work physically in archival box sets, what hope is there for physical formats? I’m also struck by the notion that musicians like Sting, with all the wealth and comforts their success provides, become increasingly divorced from both reality/normal life and their fan base. I’m reminded of how odd Prince would often behave which always frustrated me. The guy was a genuine once in a lifetime genius but good god seemed like a prat at times. I suppose the elite can afford to be odd.

Stevie mcqueen

i agree too i met STING in 2019 and he was a complete twat! broke my heart as i have been a fan since 1986! the saying is definitely true that it’s best not to meet your heros…

garax

We are in the middle of a pandemic. The USA is sitting on the edge of a historic precipice. How is not releasing some old, and somewhat after thought like tracks on some little shiny discs ‘shaming’? I’d say people need to take a step back. I’d also say shouldn’t it be about the music more than the format – I’d never not listen to a song I liked just because it hadn’t been released in a particular format. Music should be life enhancing, let’s not turn it into one more of life’s problems.

Phil Tate

Still no sign of my Abbey Road SDE that Rarewaves sent 3 weeks ago, OR the replacement they say they sent over a week ago.

Starting to think this is a dealer to avoid…….

WayneUK

I’m not a Sting fan. I was a Police fan though. I don’t get why he isn’t interested in physical releases of this though. I don’t do downloads, streaming etc. I’d want physical if l wanted it. I can see why people are miffed. I would be to. This seems to be the way things are going, shame, it’s another nail in the coffin for the music industry. So much music out there, so little interest in doing it justice by the companies and indeed certain artists don’t seem to care either.

Stevie mcqueen

greed no layout for streaming …

Nathan Thomas

Wow , you say you’ve been a fan of Sting since 1986 & that he was a ‘hero’ of yours – then in the space of 2 posts you call him a ‘twat’ and accuse him of being purely motivated by greed ! With fans like these… lol

Mick

I suspect it may be looked at from a “eco” point of view, no physical product so no waste of resources. But, if that’s the case, then at least make ALL tracks from that era available, would entice more people to (maybe?) consider going the download route. Me, no thanks, can’t beat getting your hands on something tangible.

Mick

Fair point, Paul, maybe its his New Year resolution?!

Martin Kilroy

I at least have a different FNAC exclusive to add to the pile!

Martin Kilroy

Just saw an article over the weekend last week that stated that the storage and streaming of music produces more co2 than the production of cds and vinyl. The jury is out on eco-friendly. More a risk-free investment from the record company.

Brian Scott

As a long standing Sting collector who has historically bought everything he ever released (CDs, singles, promos, overseas CDs, box sets vinyl, books etc) until recently, I like many here are underwhelmed with this. If Sting cant be bothered to remaster and create SDEs of his best work then I cant be bothered buying these lazy digital releases. Real shame though, as his work around this time is up there with the very best – the songwriting and musicianship on this album and Nothing Like the Sun in particular are simply superb. I think there would definitely be decent demand for SDEs of these releases as evidenced by the responses here. I think I’m with Kook – I’ll check the titles against what I already have on CD, promos etc and then simply buy the 2-3 individual tracks I don’t have as CD quality downloads from Qobuz

Mr Kite

Soul Cages was his last mostly decent album to my ear. There were a few good songs on Ten Sumners Tales. After that…I guess he just went down a path I couldn’t follow. Digital download is another such path. You don’t really own a digital download. You trade your money for nothing tangible in return. If you stop using Amazon or whatever other provider you download from or if the playback format evolves beyond its current incarnation (which it eventually will as all things do), your music might not follow. Nothing lasts forever and CDs are no exception but in my lifetime, I want to at least have the music source in my hands. Otherwise it’s almost as good as waking from a dream empty-handed.

Robert Laversuch

Shame – another release like the Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel downloads I would have bought. I am glad for every physical release and have bought box sets of all shapes and sizes. Would have loved to have had the first three or four Sting solo efforts come out as sets like Ultravox Vienna or the Marillion or Jethro Tull book sets. Pretty sure they would sell enough to warrant their being put together in the first place.
Maybe it is A&M? Please correct me but can only think of career box sets by The Police and Chris de Burgh right now and one expanded Bryan Adams album.

Alex James

I’d buy this in a heartbeat if it was 24/96, but MP3 is taking the p***, it’s 2021 for goodness sake!
Sting clearly doesn’t care anymore, sad…

Trapdoor

The likes of Sting and Macca seem content to live on past glories rather than any fan service these days.

It’s a shame as you’d think with the current crisis (we are all facing) they could at least deliver something worthwhile or actually inspired.

Nathan Thomas

Not sure how Macca is ‘living on past glories’ when he only released a new (well reviewed) album only a few weeks ago which was conceived & recorded during the ‘current crisis’ – is this not worthwhile or inspired enough for you ?

Frank

Sting can shove his digital deluxe edition where the sun don’t shine! Considering I bought many of his albums on CD when they were originally released, including ‘The Soul Cages’, I find his decision not to release it on CD a damn insult. The only people that stream and download digital crap are non-proper music lovers and kids. He seems to be ignoring his real fans, that I am sure, like me, would prefer CDs or Vinyl formats. I will certainly not be wasting my money on this digital release or any others of his that are released in this awful format.

Chris Squires

That’s an interesting point Frank and one that I feel is under-valued by artists.

Unless you are aimed fairly and squarely at the teen or at least, what, under 30 year olds market? You should always have a physical element to that release.

Does an artist care about their biggest fans? The ones who actually hand over money. I struggle to see how someone could possibly claim to be a big fan of a legacy artist whilst never reaching beyond a free or £10 / month spotify account.

Maybe I could be accused of musical snobbery, maybe it’s a disposable income thing, particularly in a pandemic crushed world.
This just reeks of surrender and a lack of understanding about what makes a 50 / 60 year old fan of Sting tick.

I have reached for the term “real fan” before and sometimes feel uncomfortable using it. But to me at any rate, there is an inherent difference between a real fan and a casual fan and that is the willingness to hand over cash. I would hardly be able to look myself in the eye and call myself a Kate Bush fan if, and when, and if, and when……. the next album comes out and I casually give it a listen amongst flitting between Tina Charles, a random new wave playlist and the Frog Chorus!

The next question is why should they care, but that one needs more thought.

This seems a big (at worst) fuck you or (at best) meh to the core of his long term support.

Ross Baker

While I understand the disappointment, saying things like “the only people that stream and download digital crap are non-proper music lovers and kids” is unnecessary. Some of the biggest music fans I know stopped buying physical music years ago, because for them the music is the most important aspect, not collecting artefacts. Don’t make assumptions about the millions of people out there who just happen to have different priorities to you.

Chris

Whilst I can understand the desire and agree with the fact this should have been released on CD, saying that the only people that stream and download digital crap are non proper music fans is plain wrong.

I own close to 1000 CDs and have been buying music for over 40 years. I still buy new releases on day of release, I buy deluxe editions and remastered re releases. I am the very definition of a music fan. However I play most of my music (in multiple rooms) streamed off a hard drive with all if my CDs digitised. I also buy most of my releases as digital downloads – preferably in high resolution, but at least CD quality (remember that CDs are digital also….). This is mainly due to convenience and the fact I can get on day of release versus waiting 2 weeks for Amazon to deliver (we don’t all live in the UK).

As a supposed “non music lover”, I really enjoy my digital crap and don’t worry about the format it’s on defining my level of music appreciation.

John Drayton

My favourite Sting album by a long way, but the extra material isn’t interesting enough for me to overcome my reluctance to spend money on downloads.

Eddie Vokar

still not over “Mad about you….is a great track”. I tried to listen a few times thinking I was missing a great track and after a few repeats of mad about you I felt loopy and understand it’s low charting. They should just release a cd, a tape, a vinyl with just 1 track – mad about you but have a different mix on each format. Maybe have different colored media with different covers.
All this time is the great track and I wish there was more of that, mixes and all.

Stephen K

I bought the digital EPs of Frazier Chorus because it’s the only way to get many of those tracks digitally. Also the Duran Duran digital remix EPs for Notorious and Big Thing. The reason why this release isn’t exciting is because every track on it had a previous digital release (right?). I do have the remixes promo CD5. If this were the mixes and b-sides of Dream of the Blue Turtles, I’d be all over it. I would even be excited for Nothing Like the Sun (I really need “If You There”, which I think only made it digitally to the “They Dance Alone” German (?) CD5). The “deluxe edition” of The Soul Cages remains the original album and CD singles (and promos and Japanese import EP).

DiscoDave2000

While many have pointed out the omissions of the digital only expanded edition, I’d buy this it if it was released on CD. All This Time is one of my favorite Sting tracks. I hope if/when this does see a physical release there are vinyl only, cd only, and super duper deluxe everything but the kitchen sink versions. Like another poster, I dropped vinyl in the 80’s and haven’t looked back.

Trash

I shan’t add any comments about the release format or Sting’s back catalogue handling.

What I will say is that I was pleasantly surprised to hear that ‘Tempted’ is in fact the Squeeze song. A great song that has survived many cover versions (Hue and Cry’s version is a particular favourite of mine). I’m a fan of both Sting and Squeeze and find it interesting that Sting presumably liked the song enough to cover it. It is a classic piece of songwriting (in my opinion of course :-)

Squeeze is a band that could do with a decent reissue programme. I was going to say that something like the Divine Comedy’s career spanning box would suit Squeeze but the difference is that Neil Hannon own’s his back catalogue whereas Squeeze’s output is spread across various labels and lamentably they don’t own the rights.

At least Sting’s output is mostly on one label (A&M) presumably…

Luke

I’m astonished they didn’t include the excellent performance at the Buddle Arts Centre in Newcastle from April 1991. Some of the songs appeared on 10 Summoer’s Tales-era singles, but SURELY that show should have been a no-brainer inclusion here?!

Dean

To Universal: Thank you for releasing music I will never hear.

Derek Langsford

This may be the future we have all been hoping would never come. No physical releases, only downloads or streaming in a post-physical music product world.

At least there is a CD quality download available or at least, I hope it is actually CD quality and not just MP3 presented in AIFF. Would have preferred 96/24 but I can get the CD quality download, slap it on a CDR and stick it in with my regular CD. Not ideal but at least it is not just available as lossy download or only via streaming services.

If this was released as a Deluxe 2CD in the UK, I’d have to think hard about buying it with shipping charges to the US now so high.

Bob

Remastered?

Thomas Staudt

Autobuy once available physically, which would be true for most Sting albums with similar bonuses, complete or not.
As it is, too bad. I’ll listen to it if it’s available on amazon prime music, otherwise no money from me.

Keith

Must listen to the original, don’t recall it lighting my fire on release, and I can’t take it personally that there is no physical release, much the same as the Costello vinyl only. Vote with my wallet & probably make no difference to an artists bank balance either way.

Gary Tilford

I’m sorry but that just isn’t good enough. CD quality should be an absolute minimum these days. There should also be a high quality 96khz/24 bit version available as well. I prefer physical media of course but if you are going to do Digital only, it needs to be better quality than this.

Cliff In Toronto

Not sure what you’re on about. It’s been released digitally in “CD quality”, from which you could burn a CD (if that’s what you need). Are you assuming that it’s been released in MP3?

Gary Tilford

It has been released in mp3. If you look further up the page Amazon Uk, Germany and Usa are doing mp3. Only Qobuz are doing Cd quality.

Todd

MY SONGS was just playing his back catalog in a new way (new studio or live tracks) the secret was – every time Sting went on tour with new band members the arrangement shifted a bit anyhow. A welcome unique experience for concert goers – rather than a loud photo-copy of the album. So how is that not already digging into his past? Or the vinyl reissue box set(s?) from a few years back…. I agree 25 YEARS has a few shiny nuggets in it (the live dvd, but no way to the remixes from DREAM OF THE BLUE TURTLES – ugh). but an archival mess. Happily I have all but the Italian vocal of “Mad About You” listed above (I was a huge fan during this period) so I feel no loss at not paying to borrow code.

Luke

What a shameful decision not to release a physical product! Most of his fans are vinyl and CD buyers and to treat them like this is beyond me.

Phil Morris

The album was released in the UK on Monday 21 January 1991. It will have been released in the US the following day. Not sure where you’re getting your Thursday date. Had it been released on the 17th for some highly irregular reason, it would have charted a week earlier than it did.

George Steven Cleere

Well, as I have all the ‘Bonus’ titles – having collected the Singles and from semi-boots (authentic releases in other countries) – I have no need for this. Pity – I would have liked and expanded version – could have been 4-5 discs. Original album, singles, bonus, outtakes, live and video from tour — does no one care anymore???

wardo

The first three of the bonus tracks are lovely, and I’m glad to hear them again. The rest…
Vinnie Colaiuta did play drums on the Soul Cages tour, so maybe that’s how he kept busy between shows.

Kevin from Edinburgh

The recent posts about this release arguably highlight why they’ve taken the approach they have. It seems clear that to many, the extra tracks are not that great. Perhaps a physical release would have led to even greater annoyance (on the grounds that some people will feel compelled to buy it – as they collect Sting cds, etc. – even though they feel underwhelmed by what they’ve felt compelled to buy). This way, you can still be a collector of physical media and be untroubled about not having this, but if you do fancy the tracks on offer, then you can have them. A win-win, that some can nonetheless declare a ‘lose’.

Kevin from Edinburgh

My comments were shaped by views expressed here and elsewhere on the net. Most ‘deluxe’ editions have the original album either remixed or at least remastered, but this release seems to have neither sonic enhancement (unless I’ve missed it). The number of people (a) interested in the extra tracks but (b) who don’t own the original album must be tiny; a physical release would almost certainly lead to cries of ‘why do I have to buy the album again?’, and others to post that ‘no-one’s forcing you to buy it’ (repeat until the end of time). Accordingly, a physical release of a non-enhanced cd that most buyers already own would be wasteful and embarrassing from an environmental point of view. But returning to my first point, the second disc’s worth of material seems to have left some/many somewhat deflated (i.e., it’s possible to infer that some potential buyers are not persuaded by this particular set of remixes and B-sides). I realise that’s true of every release to varying degrees, but in this instance, the rationale for a physical release seems slighter than in other cases. I’m not arguing against deluxe editions along these lines (the McCartney 2-disc sets are excellent examples of offering something that is generally most welcomed; album remastered plus bonus disc of extras), but the reaction to this feels quite different.

Kevin from Edinburgh

Hi Paul,

I don’t have the option to reply to your post (maybe you want an end to the discussion), but I don’t think we’re disagreeing to the extent that you appear to feel we are. I’m all too aware of the standard 2-disc reissue model:

(1) disc 1 – remastered/remixed album
(2) disc 2 – b-sides, remixes, live stuff, etc.

That’s how they’re marketed. An album made 30 years ago is marketed to people who very likely already own the album. If it’s been previously remastered, they’ve quite likely already bought it. Unless I’ve missed it, the record company has decided against remastering/remixing it again (perhaps they feel there’s nothing left to do?).

Accordingly, marketing point (1), above, isn’t an option. If this were released as a double cd, people who want their music on physical media might complain that the only way of getting the stuff they want/ don’t have (on disc 2) would be to buy – again – the exact same disc they already have (disc 1). Sure, they could sell it at a lower price point, but it would still represent unnecessary waste.

So I’m not arguing against a 2-disc deluxe edition at all, but if I’m a Sting fan, and already own disc 1 (i.e., the exact same mastering as is being used here), then I may be vocal in my complaints. Maybe the record company understood this, and that’s why – in the absence of any remastering/remixing – they felt they didn’t want to produce it in physical form? To avoid that criticism? If the question is ‘why didn’t they do something to the original album to make it sonically different to the existing version?’, who knows, but they haven’t.

Anyway, that’s me done. Enjoy the weekend.

Stevie B

I agree with you Kevin from Edinburgh.
I’ll go further, the album sucked at the time, it was a flop, why reissue a flop album on physical format when for virtually nothing it can be released on streaming platforms etc and some sort of income gained with zero chance of any loss to the record company?

It’s rather a smart idea, only do deluxe physical releases of hit albums that have a chance of actually SELLING and making a profit. That way too your ‘legacy’ looks rather more creative and genius-like with the dross unavailable on those pesky indestructible shiny CD thingies piled up in a corner that grandpa listens to ; )

kook

The logic there seems to be that the shabby selection of bonus tracks justifies a digital-only release, which seems rather self-defeating. Why bother at all?

Personally, I think any kind of anniversary reissue should at least try to include a reasonably substantial batch of supplementary material. People will always quibble about what that should comprise but it’s not as if there aren’t some great live recordings from this period, e.g. the acoustic set that ended up on the ‘Seven Days’ b-sides (after initially being released as an overpriced box set). There was a decent concert film from the ’91 tour as well, which still isn’t available on DVD or Blu-Ray.

The whole thing is just a missed opportunity, really. Hence the annoyance!

WILLIAM ENGLAND

I’m not completely in agreement with you Paul – although you did put “largely” in brackets. I wouldn’t class myself as a Sting or Police fan, but I did buy the Police box last year (or the year before – I have no idea what year it is right now), at that price it would have been churlish not to, and I was surprised at how much of it I thoroughly enjoyed, So if deluxe remastered cds of his solo albums were released, I would probably buy them to see what else i’ve been missing out on. And sometimes that is a good enough reason to keep on with physical reissues – you never know how many (ageing) music fans you are going to pick up along the way. eg I bought the first TFF lp when it came out but not the second (personally I thought they’d turned into U2) and so the SOL passed me by. But as i’d really enjoyed the SDE of the first lp, I picked up the SDE of SOL, and although i’m still not all the way through it, there hasn’t been anything that I haven’t enjoyed. And that’s not the only DE that has worked for me.

edward doorschodt

I own about 20.000 cd’s. Downloads not intereSTING never done any. Surely we will get a deluxe/ expanded cd version sooner or later.

kook

This already looks like the most half-arsed release of 2021. Speaking as a lapsed Sting fan, I genuinely can’t understand why anyone with a passing interest in this superb album (and so presumably already has it) would fork out £10.99 for a random bunch of hit-and-miss ‘bonus’ tracks on mp3.

On the plus side, I suppose this approach allows each individual to cherry pick the tracks they want, rather than being saddled with the whole mixed bag – in which case, I’d say the extended mix of ‘Why Should I Cry For You?’ is certainly worth 99p. (‘Oo La La Hugh’ is most definitely not.)

Ken A.!

I believe both Tempted and Ne Me Quitte Pas (along with the other live b-sides) are from a marathon 3hr show in Los Angeles from ’88. I’m guessing the novelty of those two being covers merited their inclusion, even if they sidestepped the other live NLTS-era tunes.

(And that LA Show is really wonderful if you can track it down!)

Ken A.!

(also lamenting the prolonged absence of MTV Unplugged and Soul Cages Live on CD or DVD)

Peter

Great point, Ken A.! I copied the Unplugged VHS onto a DVD and like to watch that every so often. Lots of great things from the VHS days that never made it onto DVD. Such a shame…

Gerbrand

All the live tracks on the singles from The Soul Cages are from the Tokyo Dome show (25 October 1988), but yes the show at The Wiltern Theatre in LA is great.

Danny

In the absence of a physical product, I’ll take it. “The soul cages” and “Nothing like the sun…” are my personal high water marks of Sting as a solo artist, the last times I felt he was really pushing himself as a writer…

Peter

I’ve always thought Mercury Falling is a very strong one from him as well…

Joe

Just listened to it on Spotify and I am beyond underwhelmed. I am quite the Sting fan but the extra tracks are very disappointing. The Why should I cry for you extended version is the only gem, could not care less for the rest. A physical release would be a waste of ressources.

smorrissey

I usually buy both the cd (physical stuff) and the digital download (mastered for iTunes, immediate availability, bonus tracks) lol.

As a matter of fact i paid many times for the latest 2 Taylor Swift albums which is pretty dumb but that’s the way she wants to play $$.

1) Folklore (itunes)
2) Folklore Deluxe (CD)
3) Folklore Deluxe (iTunes)
4) Folklore Deluxe Disney Edition (iTunes)

1) Evermore (iTunes)
2) Evermore deluxe (CD)
3) Evermore deluxe (itunes)

I’m dumb cause i’m in love of the blonde!

I downloaded for free the 24bits versions cause i’m not that rich and dumb….

Dean F

Really pissed off about this. How can I moan about expensive packaging, crappy memorabilia and the wrong combination of vinyl and CD when it’s only released digitally?

Olli

Damn you got it!

Dan T.

Vexing. But with nothing expanding or illuminating “Wild Wild Sea,” my favorite Sting track, I’ll pass.

Stevie mcqueen

Since this guy Martin Kierszenbaum has taken over as producer of STING the output has been nothing but drivel! come on STING and shaggy???? and “My songs”? where is the output there? STING it seems does not care anymore and is just trying to keep the money wheels turning in some shape or form by churning out old material claiming it’s done in a new way! nobody is interested in 2021 STING so now there’s a crap digital only release yet again of old material that every STING fan has heard a million times… what happened to the anniversary edition of ” the dream of the blue turtles” which is 36 years old and nothing to commemorate that? … if STING is not in this lockdown producing some thing decent for the fans other than remixes I’m out! he’s taking the piss.

STING you might aswell retire pal because nobody is interested in you anymore as you seem uninterested in the fans and this is evident in these strange times.

computernator

Sting is locked down digitally, it seems!

Ben Williams

Whose going to buy an mp3 album nowadays? I get streaming an album but the type of people who are interested in expanded Sting albums buy physical discs!

Come on Universal, get these out on CD!! You released The Police box, why not release Sting albums on expanded CD?

Marty

Physical media only for me. Never digital downloads.

Joe Mac Pherson

Downloaded file? No thank you. And, no interest at all, from me.
A deluxe 2 CD set would be more appropriate, complete with informative booklet. Also, as we all know, CD is a lot less expensive than vinyl- and CD’s don’t have surface noise, skipping, crackle, pops, etc. And, no needle is literally wearing down the sound.
I’ll never, ever return to vinyl. I gave it up in 1989; no turning back. MP3 file? NO WAY.
I’ll continue to support recording artists who release their music on CD. The rest? Goodbye.

Brixet

“Surface noise” – good pressings, well looked after, do not have surface noise.
“Skipping” – good pressings and good set-ups don’t skip.
“Crackle” – good pressings, well looked after and clean, do not crackle.
“Pops” – good pressings, well looked after and static-free, do not pop.
“Needle is literally wearing down the sound” – good set-ups do not “wear down the sound”.

0/5.

“I’ll never, ever return to vinyl” – probably wise!

K P Young

I don’t collect digital downloads in any shape or form. So a no from me