Have you seen the movie A Fish Called Wanda? In the film, Jamie Lee Curtis plays Wanda, a woman with a certain character quirk - she is easily enamored when a man speaks to her in a foreign language. This explains intially why Wanda could fall for Kevin Kline's vulgar Otto, who merely utters random Italian words to get her in the mood, but later explains why she falls very, very hard for John Cleese's much older Archie who, to Wanda's great pleasure, actually speaks fluent Russian. Now imagine Wanda's pleasure if she were to hear Sting singing beautiful guitar ballads in Spanish...
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Nada Como El Sol is Spanish for Nothing Like The Sun, Sting's 1987 solo album which is labeled by many as his greatest work. Nada Como El Sol is an five song EP featuring Spanish versions of four tracks that appeared on the original album - Little Wing, We'll Be Together, They Dance Alone, and Fragile, which Sting recorded in both Spanish and Portugese for Nada Como El Sol. The problem with Nada Como El Sol is that two of the tracks are like having to listen to Otto, while two of the others are like experiencing a Russian assault courtesy of Archie - a Sting fan might appreciate them all to varying degrees, but only two tracks are guaranteed to satisfy...
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Opening the EP is Mariposa Libre, Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing, recorded by Sting with the Gil Evans Orchestra. The original English version is one of the highlights of Nothing Like The Sun, but here, the Spanish lyric doesn't do anything for me - Sting's vocals seem somewhat forced to me, detracting from the greatness of the musical arrangement.
While We'll Be Together was one of the major hits on the original album, it's Spanish version, Si Estamos Juntos, is the real turn off of this collection. Considering that the English version was originally used for a Japanese beer commercial, it's not surprising that the transition from Kirin to Cuervo is anything but smooth... In fact, the Spanish vocals are merely tacked on top of the English tracks - the background singers can be heard singing in English behind Sting's Spanish lyrics. The result is not very good as the Spanish words do not mesh well with the basic meter of the song's instrumental phrasing. These two tracks are frustrating in that they sound good, but the lyrics are very distracting...
Be Still My Beating Heart
Fragil is the Portugese version of Sting's signature solo work, the fabulously beautiful guitar ballad Fragile, and in this particular effort, Sting does not exceed the original, though the result is certainly not hurt in the attempt. While the song does work in Portugese, it's the Spanish version that will melt any fan's heart...
Fragilidad is THE best recorded version of Fragile - the guitar solo was heavily Spanish in flavor to begin with, the rhythm was Latin to the core, and so the Spanish lyrics fit naturally into this setting. In fact, this is a slightly new setting for the song, as there are subtle instrumental differences and adjustments made for this version. Someday, I hope to hear Sting perform Fragilidad live at a concert, though I'm not sure I want my wife to hear such aural enticements - I'd be going home alone that evening.
However good Fragilidad may be, it's the Spanish version of They Dance Alone that brings real goosebumps to the listener... despite the heavy political message of the lyrics (an Amnesty International inspired tirade against Argentina's Pinochet regime), this song captures the exquisite passions of Latin guitar balladry. In the original version, actor Ruben Blades performed a spoken chorus in Spanish, elevating the already haunting music to another level, and in Ellas Danzan Solas, Sting's Spanish verses only serve to increase the effectiveness of the song. It's almost as if Sting wrote the song in Spanish, and then translated it to English for Nothing Like the Sun; it's simply that convincing.
For a Sting fan, listening to Nada Como El Sol is much like Wanda's predicament - everything you hear is something you enjoy, but real satisfaction turns on the care given to it's delivery. This is a must own album for a Sting fan, and it's not very hard to locate one of these discs at a good price. If Sting's music manages to float your boat, then this album is worth considering for the uniqueness of all five tracks, but the real strength of the EP lies within the two Spanish ballads. Wanda would agree with me, but she's - indisposed - right now....
Sting - Nada Como El Sol
Originally released February 16, 1988 by A&M Records
Mariposa Libre / Fragil / Si Estamos Juntos / Ellas Danzan Solas / Fragilidad
My Sting reviews
Album - The Dream Of The Blue Turtles
Album - Nothing Like The Sun
Album - The Soul Cages
Album - Ten Summoner's Tales
Album - Mercury Falling
Album - Brand New Day
Album - Sacred Love
Single - All This Time
Single - You Still Touch Me
Single - I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying
Single - Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot
VHS - The Soul Cages Concert
DVD - All This Time...(Sept 11 concert)
DVD - Inside: The Songs of Sacred Love
Book - Broken Music: A Memoir
My Police Reviews
Album - Outlandos D'Amour
Other Stingheads You Really Should Be Reading
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