When did you first think Sting was a pompous twit? The love-me-I'm-tortured artistry of "King of Pain?" The way he sang "the bitter sting of tears" with a straight face on "Do They Know It's Christmas?" The way he withheld new songs for a 1986 Police reunion, resulting only in an unnecessary update of "Don't Stand So Close to Me?" How he stared daggers at his band for lowering a tiny "Fortress Around My Heart" onstage (à la Spinal Tap's "Stonehenge") in Bring on the Night? Or those solo albums, each one more adult contemptuous than the last? To be fair, Sting has had some pretty awesome moments: his cinematic stints in The Who's Quadrophenia and The Sex Pistols' shelved Who Killed Bambi?, his wicked sendup of a Bond supervillain on SNL, and, of course, those five Police albums, which demonstrated how three opposing sides of a triangle can create magic as well as tension. Having reunited that legendary band for a wildly successful world tour, Sting follows it with a Back to Bass tour "playing his hits in stripped-down form." Translation: trading on the Police reunion by playing those hits with musicians who'll agree to everything he says and take a lesser cut. Twit!
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