Sting, Ten Summoner’s Tales
Sting skews literary on this commercial juggernaut
A "summoner" in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was a cruel and offensive figure who collected fines from sinners and other medieval iconoclasts. What this has to do with the first 10 of 11 songs here is hard to say, unless it's one of Mr. Sting's inside jokes. The album finalizes his evolution from rock star/new wave hero and even jazz bandleader, to adult contemporary mellowness, typified by the AC hit "Fields of Gold" and the pop ballad "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You." Sting tries on a number of other different styles that he does not wear quite as well: the Tex-Mex bridge of "Love is Stronger Than Justice (the Munificent Seven)" is a mismatch; the jump blues "She's Too Good For Me" is better, and the jazz organ lifts "St. Augustine in Hell." Clapton is back for a track, "It's Probably Me," co-written by Sting, Clapton and Michael Kamen The closing tune, "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" warns the listener not to assume anything from the persona presented by the artist, but like anyone else, the singer wants and needs to be loved.