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Sting alludes to troubled waters through brilliant acoustic experiment

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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.

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Sting alludes to troubled waters through brilliant acoustic experiment

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.

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BOOKS

List of Names for Groups of Animals

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List of Names for Groups of Animals are an interesting discovery for anyone looking to take their  grasp of English  a notch higher. Collective names for groups of animals are said to date back to medieval times, which may explain why some of these names can be strange, surprising or downright funny to us, such as an unkindness of ravens. In the spirit of the fanciful language used by our ancestors, more modern terms for animal groups can have a fun twist, like a crash of rhinoceroses.
List of Names for Groups of Animals

Whether it is a group of mammals, birds or even insects, there is a unique collective noun to identify the specific group, although some of these names are rarely used. Most people are likely to use the general term flock for a group of eagles, rather than the proper term convocation. Still, it’s good to know the correct collective noun, even if it’s just to wow your friends.

Collective Names for Animals

We’ve gathered together a list of 60 groups of animals and their collective nouns – some animal groups can have more than one collective noun – that you may or may not have heard of. Whenever animals gather in groups, they are formally called:

  • Apes: a shrewdness
  • Badgers: a cete
  • Bats: a colony, cloud or camp
  • Bears: a sloth or sleuth
  • Bees: a swarm
  • Buffalo: a gang or obstinacy
  • Camels: a caravan
  • Cats: a clowder or glaring; Kittens: a litter or kindle; Wild cats: a destruction
  • Cobras: a quiver
  • Crocodiles: a bask
  • Crows: a murder
  • Dogs: a pack; Puppies: a litter
  • Donkeys: a drove
  • Eagles: a convocation
  • Elephants: a parade
  • Elk: a gang or a herd
  • Falcons: a cast
  • Ferrets: a business
  • Fish: a school
  • Flamingos: a stand
  • Foxes: a skulk or leash
  • Frogs: an army
  • Geese: a gaggle
  • Giraffes: a tower
  • Gorillas: a band
  • Hippopotami: a bloat
  • Hyenas: a cackle
  • Jaguars: a shadow
  • Jellyfish: a smack
  • Kangaroos: a troop or mob
  • Lemurs: a conspiracy
  • Leopards: a leap
  • Lions: a pride
  • Moles: a labor
  • Monkeys: a barrel or troop
  • Mules: a pack
  • Otters: a family
  • Oxen: a team or yoke
  • Owls: a parliament
  • Parrots: a pandemonium
  • Pigs: a drift or drove (younger pigs), or a sounder or team (older pigs)
  • Porcupines: a prickle
  • Rabbits: a herd
  • Rats: a colony
  • Ravens: an unkindness
  • Rhinoceroses: a crash
  • Shark: a shiver
  • Skunk: a stench
  • Snakes: a nest
  • Squirrels: a dray or scurry
  • Stingrays: a fever
  • Swans: a bevy or game (if in flight: a wedge)
  • Tigers: an ambush or streak
  • Toads: a knot
  • Turkeys: a gang or rafter
  • Turtles: a bale or nest
  • Weasels: a colony, gang or pack
  • Whales: a pod, school, or gam
  • Wolves: a pack
  • Zebras: a zeal

To expand your vocabulary even more, YourDictionary can help you learn some animal names in Spanish.

Animal Names Can Highlight Traits

Not only is it fun to say certain names for groups of animals, but it is interesting as well. The collective names given to groups of animals can be as unique as the animals themselves and highlight certain traits of that group. Remember that, and when you think of a group of skunks the word stench should immediately come to mind.

Our list is by no means exhaustive, so please share more collective nouns for groups of animals in the comments below.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Jason Momoa And Wife Lisa Bonet Announce Separation After 4 Years Of Marriage

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Hollywood star Jason Momoa and wife Lisa Bonet have parted ways after 4 years of marriage and 16 years of relationship. The couple shared the sad news via the actor’s Instagram account. In their joint statement, the couple said there is a revolution that is unfolding and their family is no exception.

Jason Momoa And Wife Lisa Bonet Announce Separation After 4 Years Of Marriage

They noted that they will go about their lives with dignity and honesty. They shared that they are freeing each other so they can both be what they need to become and they will give unwavering love and support to their children teaching them love and prayer.

 

Jason Momoa And Wife Lisa Bonet Announce Separation After 4 Years Of MarriageThe couple met in 2005 and have two kids – a son and a daughter. Their oldest is daughter Lola Lolani Momoa, 14, and youngest is son Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa, 13.

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ENTERTAINMENT

California twins born in different years. LOL

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Aylin Trujillo, a healthy baby girl from Greenfield, weighing 5 pounds and 14 ounces, was the first baby born in the new year in Monterey County.

Aylin arrived 15 minutes after her brother Alfredo, who was born on Dec. 31 at 11:45 p.m., weighing 6 pounds and 1 ounce.

Their birth is special because they were born on different days, months and years.

Twins with different birthdays are rare, and some estimate the chance of twins being born in different years as one in 2 million.

The twins were born at Natividad Hospital in Salinas.

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ENTERTAINMENT

Grammy Awards indefinitely postponed as Omicron spreads

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This year’s Grammy Awards ceremony honoring top performances in music has been postponed indefinitely because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, organizers said on Wednesday.

The show had been scheduled to take place at an arena in downtown Los Angeles and broadcast live on the CBS network on Jan. 31.

Grammy Awards indefinitely postponed as Omicron spreads

“Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks,” CBS and the Recording Academy said in a joint statement, adding that a new date would be announced soon.

Nominations for the awards were announced in November. Pianist and bandleader Jon Batiste led a field that spanned rap to jazz music and embraced newcomers from teen pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo to veteran crooner Tony Bennett, 95, who won his first Grammy in 1963.

The 2021 Grammy awards also were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ceremony was staged in March instead of January and included a mix of pre-recorded and live segments in front of a small, socially distanced crowd.

Organizers had hoped to return this year to something closer to the traditional celebration with a large audience inside the former Staples Center, now called Crypto.com Arena. Late-night television host Trevor Noah had been tapped to host the event.

CBS and the Recording Academy said they consulted local officials, health experts and artists before deciding to scrap the January date.

Grammy Awards indefinitely postponed as Omicron spreads

“The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority,” they said.

Other entertainment industry events have been delayed or scaled back.

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Organizers of this month’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, said on Tuesday they had canceled in-person events and would move them online.

The Critics Choice Awards, which had been set for this Sunday, have been postponed with no new date scheduled.

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