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Review: Sting & Shaggy, 44/876


Sting & Shaggy, 44/876

(Polydor) ★★✩✩✩

AS laugh-out-loud preposterous as this collaboration might seem at first glance, it’s not entirely without explanation.

Sting has long channelled the sounds of Shaggy’s homeland through his music and dodgy Geordie-Jamaican patois.

And Mr Boombastic’s A&R rep during his 1990s hit-making days was Martin Kierszenbaum — now Sting’s manager and the matchmaker behind the project.

The song that apparently first got earnest eco-rocker Sting excited about the partnership, Don’t Make Me Wait, shows there is at least some merit in the unlikely idea.

Featuring Shaggy toasting in his distinctive lover-man fashion over a pulsing groove, it’s a laid-back track that is aptly timed for barbecue season.

The pair would have been well advised to leave it there, however, rather than ploughing ahead with an entire album.

The rest of 44/876 — a combo of the country codes for their homelands — isn’t all bad, but when it’s terrible, it’s toe-curlingly so.

Crooked Tree is just plain odd and Sting’s playful whinge Sad Trombone, coloured by the incessant mewing of a surly horn, is frankly cringeworthy.

‘It wasn’t me,’ Shaggy might be tempted to excuse himself — and who could blame him?