STING Sacred Love (A&M) Rating: NN
Cryptic, literate lyrics, dense arrangements, crystal-clear production and a backing band Duke Ellington could have lived with have been Sting's solo formula since day one. His latest strays little from this, offering the usual jazzy numbers (check the crazy keyboard solo in Never Coming Home), some funky bass-slappin', boot-shakin' grooves (Forget About The Future and Send Your Love) and a stack of ballads. The album falls flat with the latter since Sting manages to produce more sap than a Canadian maple. The best one is Whenever I Say Your Name with Mary J. Blige, but even it fails to capture the heat it was meant to, coming off more slick than sexual.