A handful of songs from Nothing Like the Sun, sung in Spanish and Portuguese.
Kronomyth 3.5: Sting’s como over.
The sounds that words make together matter. Compare, for example, “We’ll be together tonight” and “Tonight we’ll be together.” One rolls off the tongue, the other not so much. Sting does a commendable job of singing selected songs from …Nothing Like the Sun in Spanish and Portuguese, but Nada Como el Sol is nothing like the original when it comes to the natural rhythm of the words. Sting might just as well have been breathily singing the front page of El Globo against an immaculate backing track.
Now, someone will invariably call me a Sting-hater for saying this. But the point I’m trying to make is that Sting is an extremely gifted lyricist who chooses his words carefully. You can’t just replace those words with different sounds and expect the same results. You can’t fault him for not trying; he gives what he’s given a passionate reading, but there’s more to his music than romantic posture.
I’m not sure what the intent was in releasing these songs in Spanish (and one track in Portuguese). I can’t imagine that international sales were a problem for Sting. Nor do I believe that most of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking populations found English lyrics a barrier to appreciation at this point. I suspect that some of this had to do with heartfelt appreciation for his international fanbase and some of it had to do with showing how sexy Sting sounds singing Spanish. (Which, for the record, is probably not as sexy as you think.)
Of course, in a world where Peter Gabriel gets a free pass for singing albums in German, Sting certainly gets a free pass for Nada Como el Sol. It’s an interesting bit of marketing, but nothing more. Fans will probably appreciate the effort, but I’m actually far more appreciative of Phil Collins for not ever doing this.
Original EP version
A1. Mariposa Libra (Jimi Hendrix) (4:54)
A2. Frágil (3:50)
A3. Si Estamos Juntos (4:16)
B1. Ellas Danzan Solas (Cueca Sola) (7:17)
B2. Fragilidad (3:52)
All songs written by Sting unless noted. Spanish lyrics by Roberto Livi. Portuguese lyrics (A2) by Liluca.
Produced by José Quintana.
Photography by Brian Aris.
Released on EP, cassette EP and CDEP on February 16, 1988 in the US (A&M, SP/CS/CD-3295), Canada (A&M, CS-79805), Germany and Spain (A&M, 393 295-1), Japan (A&M, C18Y-3235) and Mexico (A&M, LPM-72001).