Sunday, September 28, 2014

brand new day

Sting turned the clock to zero and spent a year reworking the emotional explorations of this romantic renewal.  After four albums recorded with producer Hugh Padgham ('...Nothing Like the Sun', 'The Soul Cages''Ten Summoner's Tales' and 'Mercury Falling'), Sting began work on a new project without him.  

Sting reveals:   "I pretended I wasn't working on a record. I pretended I was just gonna get some musicians together and have fun in the house and jam a little, and then pick the bones out of the jams in the mornings, and then adapt them a little bit. This was in Italy, in Tuscany. I converted a granaio, a big barn, into a playing space with a little desk in it. So I just jammed around for a month or two, and picked bits out and started to loosely structure songs without any lyrics. I finished and sequenced an hour of music without any idea of what it was about lyrically! This is not the normal way I work, which is to write lyrics first or second but always in the same period of time as the music. This was different. So I would take an hour of music away with me on my walks around the woods in Tuscany, and try and allow characters or stories to emerge, rather like the way I imagine sculptors work - they find a piece of rock and see a bit of a nose here, and a bit of an arm or leg there and end up with a body. Some days nothing would emerge out of the mist, and other days whole characters would emerge. So the music was telling me the stories. I had no plan that the songs would be connected in any way, because the music was quite disparate, but I ended up with twelve songs that were really love stories in the very traditional sense - but with "lover" always as a metaphor for something larger, some larger philosophical thought or religious view of the world. They're all connected in that sense, and I think it's quite a romantic record...I feel the millenium is very much part of this record - and as my strategy in life is to be optimistic, in art I want to be the same. We need to look positively toward the future and not be sucked in by the lunacy that this is the end of the world, or that everything's going to fall apart - trouble, strife, plague, all that stuff. All that becomes self-fulfilling. So my strategy is to be optimistic, naive maybe. But maybe that's my job...I didn't set out to write lyrics just above love, yet almost all the songs have the theme of broken lives that can be mended by love. My challenge was to write a happy love song without being banal or smug. For example, 'Brand New Day', the last song, begins with a jaundiced view and then moves toward acceptance, to diving back into love. It's basically the thought that falling in love is an act of optimism - and I think if the album has that tone, for me... it's an optimistic one...I think there's an optimism in just about all the songs...That love actually transcends not only lifetimes, it also transcends break-ups. There is meaning in a relationship even if it doesn't last. It's been a profound and useful part of living." 

'Brand New Day' was produced by Sting and Kipper (Mark Eldridge) with engineers Simon Osborne, Neil Dorfsman, Geoff Foster, and Chris Blair.   The process took place from summer of 1998 through the summer of 1999, starting and ending at Il Palagio in Tuscany; with string sessions recorded at Air Lyndhurst studios in London; overdubs at New York's Right Track and Avatar studios; and mixing in Paris at Studio Mega.  The sessions featured Sting on guitar, bass, keyboards, vg-8 guitar synth, and vocals;   Kipper on drum programming, keyboards;   Dominic Miller on guitars;  Manu Katché and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums;  Jason Rebello on piano and clavinet;  and Chris Botti on trumpet;   with Stevie Wonder on harmonica;  James Taylor on vocals and acoustic guitar;  Cheb Mami on vocals;  Branford Marsalis on clarinet;  Mino Cinelu on percussion;  Dave Hartley on string arrangements, conduction, and Hammond organ;  B.J. Cole on pedal steel guitar;  Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes and fiddle;  Don Blackman on Hammond organ;  Sté on vocals;  Ettamri Mustapha on darbouka;  Joe Mendez, Janice Pendarvis, Althea Rodgers, Pamela Quinlan, Marlon Saunders, Veneese Thomas, Darryl Tookes, Ken Williams, Tawatha Agee, and Dennis Collins on background vocals;   Gavyn Wright as string leader;   Farhat Bouallagui on string arrangement, conductor, and leader;  with string players Moulay Ahmed, Kouider Berkan, Salem Bnouni, and Sameh Catalan.  

Kipper says:    "He's got this place called Il Palagio, which is literally a palace with three hundred acres of olive groves and vineyards. He bought that about a year and a half ago and has been getting it up to scratch. He's only lived there for the period of time we were working on this album. He wanted to be in a different environment for the summer, and it's beautiful in Tuscany...We would jam every evening for about four or five hours and experiment. We did that for about four weeks, and then each morning we'd listen to the work we'd done the night before and write down the timecode of where we thought there was something good. Then we'd work that bit out and develop it to the next level...Even three or four months in, we were just doing demos. Of course, in the back of your mind, you know you're making a record, but you free yourself from the pressure of having to make something amazing. It's a really valuable approach for Sting, because obviously there is a lot of pressure on Sting to write another hit song and do something that's better than Ten Summoner's Tales, or The Police...He's always used Hugh Padgham in the past, and I think he thought Hugh might come in to produce at some stage, but when he started doing vocals and coming up with vocal arrangements, I was helping with that and being a sounding board - so I fulfilled a new role. I'd worked with it to that point doing the programming, making the tracks sound full and finished, so I just stayed with it...I'd bought into Sting's way of working where you open yourself up creatively and don't get attached to things, so we put a little additional track in halfway through the album from something we'd lost during the year, as a musical interlude. Then we edited out a chorus and changed the track order of a couple of songs. It was probably the middle to end of July when we decided it was time to stop thinking about the album and move on."

'Brand New Day' rose to twenty-one in Australia; nineteen in Canada; sixteen in New Zealand; nine in the US; seven in Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands; five in Spain and the UK; four in Belgium and Sweden; three in France; two in Switzerland; and number one in Austria, Finland, Germany, and Norway.  The album won two Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

"Brand New Day"

How many of you people out there
Been hurt in some kind of love affair?
And how many times did you swear
That you'd never love again?
How many lonely, sleepless nights?
How many lies, how many fights?
And why would you want to
Put yourself through all of that again?
Love is pain I hear you say
Love has a cruel and bitter way of
Paying you back for all the faith you ever had in your brain
How could it be that what you need the most
Can leave you feeling just like a ghost?
You never want to feel so sad and lost again
One day you could be looking
Through an old book in rainy weather
You see a picture of her smiling at you
When you were still together
You could be walking down the street
And who should you chance to meet
But that same old smile you've been thinking of all day?
Why don't we turn the clock to zero honey
I'll sell the stock we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock all the way back
I wonder if she'll take me back
I'm thinking in a brand new way
Turn the clock to zero sister
You'll never know how much I missed her
I'm starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero boss
The river's wide we'll swim across
We're starting up a brand new day
It could happen to you,
Just like it happened to me,
There is simply no immunity
There's no guarantee.
I say love is such a force if you should find yourself in it
You need some time for reflection
You say, baby wait a minute, wait a minute
Wait a minute, wait a minute
Wait a minute, wait a minute
Turn the clock to zero honey
I'll sell the stock we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero Mac
I'm begging her to take me back
I'm thinking in a brand new way
Turn the clock to zero boss
The river's wide we'll swim across
Starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero buddy
Don't wanna be no fuddy duddy
We're starting up a brand new day
I'm the rhythm in your tune
I'm the sun and you're the moon
I'm the bat and you're the cave
You're the beach and I'm the wave
I'm the plough and you're the land
You're the glove and I'm the hand
I'm the train and you're the station
I'm the flagpole to your nation
I'm the present to your future
You're the wound and I'm the suture
You're the magnet to my pole
I'm the devil in your soul
You're the pupil I'm the teacher
You're the church and I'm the preacher
You're the flower I'm the rain
You're the tunnel I'm the train
Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
We're starting up a brand new day
You're the crop to my rotation
You're the sum of my equation
I'm the answer to your question
If you follow my suggestion
We can turn this ship around
And go up instead of down
You're the pan and I'm the handle
You're the flame and I'm the candle
Stand up all you lovers in the world
Stand up and be counted every boy and every girl
Stand up all you lovers in the world
We're starting up a brand new day

"Desert Rose"

"A Thousand Years"

"After the Rain Has Fallen"

'Brand New Day' 
full album:

All songs written by Sting, except where noted.

"A Thousand Years" (Kipper, Sting) – 5:57
"Desert Rose" (featuring Cheb Mami) – 4:45
"Big Lie, Small World" (featuring David Hartley) – 5:05
"After the Rain Has Fallen" – 5:03
"Perfect Love... Gone Wrong" (featuring Sté Strausz) – 5:24
"Tomorrow We'll See" – 4:47
"Prelude to the End of the Game" – 0:20
"Fill Her Up" (featuring James Taylor) – 5:38
"Ghost Story" – 5:29
"Brand New Day" (featuring Stevie Wonder) – 6:19

bonus tracks
"The End of the Game"

"Windmills of Your Mind" (Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman)

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