Sting's 'Broken Music' honest, colorful
Gordon Sumner has many names - musician, actor, environmentalist, Sting. Now he has added author to the list. His memoir, "Broken Music," is a frank telling of the path that took him from a small shipbuilding town in northern England to the center of the world stage.
Sting nicely frames his recounting with a 1987 journey into the Brazilian rainforest to participate in an ancient vision quest. The visions make the musician delve deep within his psyche and confront his demons - namely the recent deaths of his parents and his relationships with them.
Thus Sting sets off on a colorfully written inventory of his early life, examining his grandparents' and parents' lives and their effect on him. There is a tangible pathos in his reminiscing, the bittersweet sincerity of a grown man looking back at his parents' struggles and accepting them, unashamed, at face value.
The same vivid candor is given to his own exploits as Sting recollects meeting and losing friends, falling in love with women and music and growing up with the dream of being a musician. He willingly admits his faults and his gifts with a humility that seems unfit for such an accomplished person.
This memoir might be particularly enjoyed by readers who dream of a musical career. Sting's brutally honest stories of paying dues offer both promise and caution. "Broken Music" also illustrates the evolution of Sting the musician, giving readers an anatomical dissection and complete history of his singing and playing styles.
Anyone expecting a Hammer of the Gods recitation of the success of The Police, the trio whose fame simultaneously propelled and was propelled by the author, will be disappointed. Sting thankfully spares us recollections of the endless touring and promotion of rock stardom. That omission helps humanize the icon, keeping the star who shone at Band Aid and with P. Diddy at a level that almost any reader can identify with.
The lyrical lucidity of this memoir reminds the reader that Sting has been telling stories throughout his career - this one is just on paper, not vinyl.
By Seán O'Donnell / PittsburghLIVE.com