LABEL: Cherrytree/A&M Records/Universal Music Group
RELEASE DATE: 26 September 2011
RELEASE COUNTRY: Various
'Sting: 25 Years', is the definitive box set collection slated for US release on September 27, 2011 (internationally September 26, 2011). Featuring three CDs comprised of 45 remastered tracks personally curated by Sting, a previously unreleased live concert DVD and a comprehensive hardcover book, this retrospective captures for the first time both the highlights and rarities of Sting’s enduring solo career.
This consummate collection contains selections spanning his entire solo catalog, from his 1985 debut album, 'The Dream Of The Blue Turtles', to his latest release, Live in Berlin. Highlights include all of Sting’s top 40 hits as well as Grammy® winners 'Brand New Day', 'The Soul Cages', 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You', and 'Whenever I Say Your Name' featuring Mary J. Blige.
Sting: 25 Years was produced by Rob Mathes and Executive Produced by Sting’s longtime manager, Kathryn Schenker. The box set also contains nine songs remixed by Robert Orton and Steve Fitzmaurice exclusively for this collection.
Rough, Raw & Unreleased: Live At Irving Plaza, the previously unreleased live concert DVD, features 10 tracks culled from newly unearthed raw performance footage filmed in New York City on the final night of Sting’s U.S. 'Broken Music' tour in 2005.
The discs are housed in a beautiful, lavish hardcover book containing intimate and rare photos from world renowned photographers, complete lyrics, personal commentary and a newly written introduction by Sting.
Richly diverse in musical content and visually captivating, 'Sting: 25 Years' is a compelling tribute to the restless spirit of an artist who continues to evolve and explore new musical territory.
Review from Associated Press by Dolores Barclay
Sting's three-CD box set offers an intriguing portrait of the artist in his quarter-century quest to marry the many flavors of music. Bundling his early and later work together presents an excellent chance to really get a clear reading of how he has tweaked pop music and expanded its core. His early solo compositions after leaving the Police veered largely toward jazz and world beats, and his first CD, "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" featured an impressive roster of jazz players: Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Omar Hakim and Darryl Jones. "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" from that seminal 1985 album showcases Sting's flirtations for both jazz and rhythm and blues, while he revives the reggae that also influenced the Police in "Love Is the Seventh Wave," with its infectious refrain: "There is a deeper wave than this, rising in the land/There is a deeper wave than this, listen to me, girl." World beats and jazz, of course, are offered up again and again over the years - "Desert Rose," for example, from 1999's "Brand New Day," where Sting's vocals with Cheb Mami, share Middle Eastern inflections. "I Was Brought to My Senses," from 1996's "Mercury Rising," reflects just a taste of the Scottish Highland in its opening before floating to smooth jazz riffs. Sting's musical explorations became even more interesting in 2003 with his "Sacred Love" album where Bach influenced "Whenever I Say Your Name," a song that had Mary J.. Blige on vocals. And there are tunes from his recent works, "Symphonicities," from 2010 and "If on a Winter's Night ..." The boxed set comes with a nicely packaged book of writings and photos, and a DVD, and lyrics to each tune. Sting is an intelligent lyricist, which for some fans can be a turn-off. But like it or not, Sting's very complexities elevate his music, from the peppiness of "Brand New Day" to the edgy narrative "I Hung My Head" to the sweetness of "When We Dance." Sting has truly given the gift of music.
Review from Corpus Christi Caller Times by Jesse De Leon
When The Police released their first album, 'Outlandos D'Amour' in 1978, their punky pop sound was often augmented by reggae and ska rhythms. As the band progressed over the course of five years and just as many albums, they abandoned their white-boy-reggae fixation and bowed out with the musical sophistication that marked their swan song, 1983's 'Synchronicity'. During their time together, main songwriter Sting (aka Gordon Sumner), began to infuse his highly literate songs with touches of jazz. That influence has been a touchstone of his solo career.When he released 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles' in 1985, he attracted just as much attention for his jazz-influenced direction as he did for being on his own for the first time. Amazingly, his career has lasted five times longer than his tenure with The Police and that milestone is appropriately marked with the release of '25' (A&M), a four-disc document of his solo work. Instead of retreading his solo tracks one by one, this impressive package offers a somewhat piecemeal account of Sting's musical meanderings that remains far from exhaustive. That brevity is actually a good thing, as tracks like 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' and 'Fortress Around Your Heart' from his aforementioned debut album sound right at home when placed beside 'If I Ever Lose My Faith in You' and 'Fields of Gold' from 1993's 'Ten Summoner's Tales' and 'Desert Rose' from 1999's 'Brand New Day'. The fact that these songs fit together so well is a testament to Sting's masterful singing and playing and it aptly underscores the consistent quality of his quarter century's worth of work. The live tracks, 'I Burn for You' and 'Driven to Tears' from Bring on the Night are balanced by the more recent but nonetheless essential performances that comprise the accompanying DVD of songs from the last show of his Broken Music Tour in 2005. On this enjoyable visual chapter of the set, Sting breaks out some seldom performed Police tracks like 'Next To You' and 'Demolition Man' that he still delivers with considerable gusto. Fans who already have all of his albums may be disappointed at the lack of rarities, but '25' is an elegant testament to the fact that even though his Police days are way behind him, Sting's story as a solo artist is nothing short of arresting.
Review from Record Collector by Terry Staunton
A rich mix of musical styles, plus a 2005 live DVD... Sometimes being the leader of the biggest band on the planet isn't enough, and the artists formerly known as Gordon Sumner has previously spoken about how he was frustrated by the musical limitations of The Police. Indeed, since embarking on a solo career a quarter of a century ago, Sting has avidly pursued a resless, occasionally schizophrenic path, as this bos set testifies. The easy shorthand suggests Sting had designs on becoming a jazz artist, and that's borne out by his earlier albums on tracks such as 'Moon Over Bourbon Street' or 'We'll Be Together' (not to mention his live re-workings of his old band's 'Bring On The Night' and 'Driven To Tears'). But listen more carefully to the elaborate musical tapestry of 'If I Ever Lose My Faith In You' or 'If You Love Somebody Set Them Free' - probably two of the most complex songs to scale the singles chart. Even his more idiosyncratic projects have been presented with persuasive accessibility (a couple of songs from 2009's traditional Christmas album make the cut, though sadly nothing from his lute album three years earlier!). What's never been in doubt is Sting's abaility to conjure up a heart-stopping emotional anthem, such as the truly beautiful 'Fields of Gold' or the tender poetry of 'When We Dance'.
Review from Rolling Stone by Alan Light
The guy has worked with everyone from Yo-Yo Ma to the Black Eyed Peas, from Miles Davis to Phil Collins, so a comprehensive Sting retrospective seems impossible. But over three CDs and one DVD, 25 Years tells a cohesive tale: the story of a career dedicated to constant renewal. Even on the hits, not every experiment worked (it's still unclear why there's a break beat in "Englishman in New York"). It's easy to forget the innovative focus on jazz that defined the first part of his solo career, or the muscular pop he nailed in the early 1990s. What shines throughout these 45 tracks is the unerring songcraft, and a voice that's lost none of its power over a quarter-century.