Original article by Senior journalist Lakshmi Govindrajan Javeri
Sting’s music has been a constant presence for a good part of my life. Be it his songwriting or his vocals, his clever instrumentation or just the themes that draw him, many of his works have featured prominently in the soundtrack of my own life. It’s not to say that every little thing he does is magic, because, you know, he has also written some gold standard tripe. Nevertheless, the fact that he’s been an English teacher and his lyrics are often beautifully layered for an English Literature student like me, has meant that analysing his work is second nature to me.
Obviously then, his new album The Bridge was something I eagerly looked forward to. His 15th so far and the first in over five years that is in the rock realm, it was slated for release on the same day Adele aka Goddess of Heartbreak’s album 30 was released. It was also the day Sir Rod Stewart released an album, but we shall not digress. In the last decade alone, Sting has drawn inspiration from his childhood in The Last Ship (2013), reimagined his solo classics in My Songs (2019), collaborated with Shaggy in 44/876 (2019). His 2016 album 57th& 9th was his last unadulterated rock album that wasn’t carrying the weight of an overarching theme.
Up against the social media frenzy over Adele’s divorce album where a breakup has been analysed with the excruciating details, and close on the heels of Taylor’s Swifties losing their minds yet again over a scarf, Sting’s straight up rock album The Bridge released almost silently in comparison.
Barring the usual interviews in the media, social media discussions and TikTok collabs, Sting has let his music do much of the talking. Given that he isn’t hitting out at exes and writing about things as salacious, this pop-rock seducer-songwriter septuagenarian’s pandemic album is the still water that runs deep.
Water, in fact, is a recurring metaphor in the album that is titled The Bridge, a proverbial link over tough times, over relationships, a connector between disparate ideas and a solution Sting seeks to all that ails the world today. Cleverly and frequently cheesily, water appears and reappears either literally or otherwise to help us tide through the simple and mega complicated themes that make Sting anxious.
A quick listen of any album is unfair to the effort put in and The Bridge doesn’t make a good case for itself either initially. Conversational Sting with sparse melodic timelessness that usually mark his collaborations with Dominic Miller has meant that the album can easily be dismissed as an easy-but-predictable listen.
But Sting has a way of wooing you slowly and he shows no urgency in convincing you to stay. So being quick to judge the album as a collection of B-sides from his blockbuster collections will deprive you of a carefully thought-out string of songs that ebbs and flows at a pace of its own volition. It has a strong pop-rock vibe that defined his The Police and early solo years, but some of its best songs have Celtic and jazz influences. Typically Sting one would imagine.
Opening with ‘Rushing Water’, Sting lays bare his apprehensions through the swelling of a river. ‘If It’s Love’ is easy on the ears, almost casual in the way it treats itself. The ‘Book of Numbers’ starts decisively and resonates with Dominic Miller’s sway on the proceedings. He even returns with haunting, almost stalker-feels writing like in ‘Loving You’, a song so conversational that the backing instruments are a faint part of the experience. But this very starkness works to his advantage when he so painfully sings, “We made vows inside the church to forgive each other’s sins, but there are things I have to endure, like the smell of another man’s skin. If that’s not loving you, I don’t know what is.” Sigh… these millennial writers have so much to learn from this British legend’s understated song-writing. That itself is refreshing from the House of Sting given that he has had a tendency to complicate sounds and cultures in the noughties.
Three songs in, Sting has unshackled further with the contrition of the water metaphor waning, going instead into deeper themes within our consciousness. ‘For Her Love’ is so reminiscent of Sting’s ‘Fragile’ and ‘Shape of My Heart’, with unmistakable hints of ‘Fields of Gold’. It’s the Sting we collectively fell in love with, the affirmation of a life-long love affair with his works. The violins and accordions contribute to the moody song with Celtic hues, ‘The Hills on the Border’. Dominic Miller’s subtlety shines in ‘The Bells of St. Thomas’ where Sting’s song-writing is at its most vivid glory, harking back to some of his lyrical classics like ‘Shape of My Heart’. The title track and Captain Bateman benefit tremendously from their folk settings while ‘Waters of Tyne’s’ acoustic experience is sheer brilliance.
Whenever Sting does an instrumental track it’s just as rich as his lyrical ones where intense chords and tones create a dramatic sonic world that we irresistibly put on loop. Think ‘St. Agnes’ and the ‘Burning Train’ from one of Sting’s best albums, Soul Cages. If the album that’s set in the ship-building milieu of his childhood home was one of his most ground-breaking works, then this water-filled outing’s most prolific piece comes in the form of ‘Captain Bateman’s Basement’, a song that is absolutely nothing like its almost-namesake. The jazz-dipped sensual track feels like we’re in the head of a musician who is tinkering around during soundcheck. Unbridled and uninhibited, it is Sting at his most primal, bass in hand, indistinguishable humming and a bloody good song.
The more you listen to The Bridge, the more the album grows on you, and the more you realise that as much there is water splashed all over the discography, the album is really about reaching out to people, to circumstances, to the divine. In an album full of troubled waters, we’re actually joining Sting on a quest to build bridges.
Wendy Williams’ Brother Speaks Out On Dementia Rumors
The Wendy Williams Show returned on Oct. 18 but without the show’s star due to her ongoing health issues. There are now reports the longtime talk show host is suffering from early signs of dementia. Williams’ brother, Tommy, is speaking out.
Tommy exclusively told The Sun, “We haven’t had any alerts like that and I haven’t seen anything like that or have had conversations with her that would lead me to believe that. We routinely go up and check on Wendy even though we’re all down here in Florida.”
She continued, “I try to make it up there and my dad speaks with Wendy frequently. So no, we don’t have any concerns concerning her mental state. It’s all physical.”
There are reports that the talk show host is confined to a wheelchair, which Tommy didn’t address.
He also added, “I am trying to find out if she’s coming down for Thanksgiving. I mean, she’s normal like that.”
The Wendy Williams Show was originally set to return Sept. 20 but was pushed back to October 4. The new season eventually premiered on Oct. 18 without Williams. Guest host have included Bevy Smith, Leah Remini and Sherri Shepherd.
TMZ reported Williams, 57, was voluntarily admitted to a New York City hospital on Sept. 14 for a psych evaluation. The outlet also reported she tested positive for the coronavirus, but she was vaccinated and asymptomatic. However, she has now tested negative for COVID-19 and has been released from the hospital.
On Nov. 8, Williams gave an update on Instagram, writing, “HOW YOU DOIN’? I MISS YOU ALL! As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic. I’m making progress, but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected.”
She continued, “I’m a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I’m ready. I want to thank all of my staff and our guest hosts for stepping up and stepping in while I can’t be there.”
She also wrote “doing everything… to get back to work.”
“But right now Wendy has to focus on Wendy. I love you for watching,” she added.
It remains unknown when Wendy Williams will return to her talk show.
Creative: South African woman makes dress from recycled KFC packaging
The Internet has transformed the world into a global village today. Within a minute we get to know news from a thousand miles away and feel connected. Social media platforms also keep us informed and entertained. People are finding new ways these days to get noticed on these online platforms by doing something unique. A female fashion designer and blogger from South Africa is a recent example of this, having garnered the attention of social media users for her creative take on sustainable clothing.
The young fashion designer, who goes by the name NokuzothaNtuli on Twitter, has shared images of a beautiful dress made from recycled KFC packaging that has left people stunned.
Showing her love for KFC, the fashion designer, in a caption, explained that the dress was made out of recycled KFC packaging. She also tagged KFC South Africa in her post. The pictures were an attempt by the designer to win KFC’s Superfan contest, which had the grand prize of a year’s supply of the brand’s fried chicken products.
Take a look at NokuzothaNtuli’s post:
Since being shared, this tweet has grabbed over 13,000 likes and a plethora of reactions by Twitter users. Enjoying the attention on social media, the fashion designer has it pinned on her profile at the moment.
After viewing the photos of the dress on Twitter, KFC South Africa themselves were pretty impressed and responded to the woman’s idea on the social networking site, saying that, “All this fresh drip, we were never ready”.
The word drip is an urban slang word for chic and fashionable clothing.
Not only KFC South Africa but social media users also appreciated the creativity of the fashion designer. Several users found the dress very innovative and commended the fashion designer on her skills.
Some people rooted for NokuzothaNtuli to win the Superfan contest.
Others were impressed by the talent of the designer as well as the free marketing that KFC got through her.
Some people also shared their own experiences with clothing made out of recycled paper.
Now its your time, how creative do you think this dress is?
[VIDEO] N100m challenge: Davido donates N250m to orphanages across Nigeria
Award-winning Nigerian singer, David ‘Davido’ Adeleke on Saturday announced his donation of N250m to orphanages across Nigeria. That man is positively messing with the dynamics which control balance and nature.
According to the singer, the money came from his N100m challenge which raked in N201m in three days.
Making the announcement via his Instagram page, Davido stated that he has decided to add N50m to the donation from fans and colleagues.
In total, Davido is set to support orphanages across Nigeria with a sum of N250m.
Following the successful contribution, the singer has decided to give back to society.
Watch announcement video below:
Davido also set up a five-man committee to oversee the disbursement of the funds, as he promised that their activities would be made public.
See official statement below:
Below are those on the committee:
1. Mrs Titi Adebayo – Chairman of the committee.
2. Professor Jonathan Nwosu – Secretary of the committee.
3. Professor Yahana Joel Asabe of the Northern Nigeria Seventh Day Adventist Union Conference.
4. Pastor (Dr) Oyalabu of Spring Time Development Foundation (SDF).
5. Professor Uloma Onuoha
1. Mrs Titi Adebayo, who is the Chairman of the committee, is the founder/CEO of Paroche Reach Out Foundation.
The foundation was launched in loving memory of Taiwo ‘Paroche’ Adebayo, who passed away on August 20, 2012 as a result of injuries sustained when he was knocked over by a drunk driver in a hit and run incident. He was 26-year-old and a graduate of Babcock University.
The foundation was created to build on, and consolidate the virtues of Taiwo; to campaign against substance usage/abuse/addiction, and to bring about the desired and unprecedented post-rehabilitation care for those struggling with any kind of addiction.
2. Prof. Jonathan Chinaka Nwosu of the Faculty of Education is the Registrar, Babcock University. Nwosu is the Secretary of the committee.
3. Professor Yahana Joel Asabe of the Northern Nigeria Seventh Day Adventist Union Conference. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a major Christian denomination with a significant presence in Nigeria. The Church splits Nigeria into three unions – Northern Nigerian Union Conference, Western Nigeria Union Conference and Eastern Nigerian Union Conference.
4. Pastor (Dr.) Oyalabu Samuel is the Chief Executive Officer of Spring Time Development Foundation (SDF). The foundation, is a not-for-profit and nongovernmental body. The birth of SDF in 1996 was to harness and account for Deji Adeleke’s philanthropic deeds. Davido’s father, Adedeji Tajudeen Adeleke is the founder of the foundation.
5. Professor Uloma Doris Onuoha, a member of the committee, is the Librarian of Adeleke University.
She is a Professor of Library and Information Resources Management. She holds a first degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Jos, two Masters degrees in Library and Information Science (University of Ibadan, 2006) and Personnel Psychology (Olabisi Onabanjo University, 2003). She obtained a Ph.D. in Information Resources Management from Babcock University in 2012.
Paramount Cuts 44 Jobs in Marketing and Distribution Reorg
Paramount Cuts 44 Jobs in Marketing and Distribution Reorg. Leadership shuffle comes after Marc Weinstock takes charge of unified global marketing and distribution division for Paramount.
The leadership shuffle continues at Paramount as the studio has announced a reorganization of its unified global marketing and distribution division under the leadership of president Marc Weinstock that will see 44 jobs be cut.
The reorg and layoffs come less than two months after Brian Robbins replaced Jim Gianopulos as the CEO of Paramount, with Weinstock’s promotion to the top marketing spot soon following. Among the branches being integrated into the division are digital marketing, brand marketing & strategy and data analytics, all of which will now report to Danielle DePalma, EVP Global Marketing.
Theatrically, Mark Viane, President International Distribution, Liz West, EVP Marketing Communications, and Rachel Cadden, EVP International Marketing, will continue to report to Weinstock, while Domestic Distribution President Chris Aronson, Faye Ugolnik, EVP Media; Ellen Martello, EVP Finance WW Theatrical Marketing; and Leonard Iannelli, SVP Special Projects & Events, will continue in their roles.
“With this restructuring, we’ve had to make the difficult decision to eliminate some positions across the domestic and international marketing and distribution divisions. Internationally, as the new organization will also support territory offices going forward, regional offices will become solely focused on our distribution business,” wrote Weinstock in a memo to Paramount employees.
“We would like to thank all those impacted for their many excellent contributions to the company. This is never easy, but our new structure moves us forward and positions us to maintain our competitive advantage, stay nimble, and drive the future success of the company.”
Paramount helped kickstart the box office rebuilding process with “A Quiet Place: Part II” in May, a sequel that grossed $160 million domestically and $297 million worldwide against a $55 million budget. Since then, it has released a pair of family films, “Paw Patrol: The Movie” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog” in theaters and on Paramount+, with “Clifford” earning a $22 million extended opening this past weekend at the box office while becoming Paramount+’s most viewed movie to date.
In 2022, the studio is expected to leave an even bigger mark on the box office with a pair of Tom Cruise blockbusters, “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” along with other films like “Jackass Forever,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” and a revival of “Scream.”
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