From the first Police album, Outlandos D'Amour, through Sacred Love, here are the collected lyrics written by Sting, along with his commentary.
“Publishing my lyrics separately from their musical accompaniment is something that I’ve studiously avoided until now. The two, lyrics and music, have always been mutually dependent, in much the same way as a mannequin and a set of clothes are dependent on each other; separate them, and what remains is a naked dummy and a pile of cloth. Nevertheless, the exercise has been an interesting one, seeing perhaps for the first time how successfully the lyrics survive on their own, and inviting the question as to whether song lyrics are in fact poetry or something else entirely. And while I’ve never seriously described myself as a poet, the book in your hands, devoid as it is of any musical notation, looks suspiciously like a book of poems.
So it seems I am entering, with some trepidation, the unadorned realm of the poet. I have set out my compositions in the sequence they were written and provided a little background when I thought it might be illuminating. My wares have neither been sorted nor dressed in clothes that do not belong to them; indeed, they have been shorn of the very garments that gave them their shape in the first place. No doubt some of them will perish in the cold cruelty of this new environment, and yet others may prove more resilient and become perhaps more beautiful in their naked state. I can’t predict the outcome, but I have taken this risk knowingly and, while no one in their right mind should ever attempt to set “The Waste Land” to music, in the hopeful words of T. S. Eliot, These fragments I have shored against my ruins.”
—Sting, from the Introduction
From the point of view as a musician, fan and songwriter, this book provides such an insight into the workings of one of the greatest songwriters that this generation has known. Sadly? Not every song had a story, but not every one needs it. The ones that have it (big hits, as well as some of his more obscure work) deliver a powerful look at how songs can come about; inspiration can be everywhere!