I SUSPECTED THAT Amerindie's semester in Brazil was destined for foolishness when Sting's languorous entry to Red Hot + Rioseemed right at home. After all, segregate Tropicália's pretensions from its sense of play and embalm it in respect, and you've got all the elements necessary for a Dance Party PBS Megamix. Accordingly, Brand New Day replaces Sting's undergrad reading list from lyrics past with the text of a Portuguese-to-Middlebrow dictionary, creating the least successful advertisement for globalism since EuroDisney. If this guy has gotta fabricate hookers who say, "The lights have yet/To shed their tawdry lustre on the scene," and enlist James Taylor as duet-mate on his C&W joke "Fill Her Up," the least he could do is offer up a decent hook for Puffy to cop.
Of course, for a select audience, such forays into tasteful irrelevance are as impervious to criticism as a Merchant-Ivory production. I mean, his fans like this stuff--his John Donne as Kahlil Gibran poesy poses, his exotic instrumental travelogues, the smug tone of that unremittingly prepossessing voice. But the way Sting projects sensuality without admitting vulnerability suggests that his vaunted tantric sexual stamina may not always be a boon to his bedmate. After all, there are worse sexual predicaments than a lover who comes too soon.
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