Released: April 20, 2018
Peak: 40 US, 9 UK, -- CN, 38 AU
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.06 world (includes US and UK)
Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.
Songs were written by Sting & Shaggy with their backing musicians.
Total Running Time: 42:52
2.538 out of 5.00 (average of 10 ratings)
About the Album:
For Sting who, during the 21st century, had written a Broadway show, sang songs for Disney, done a Christmas album, and released an album of lute recordings, this was “another detour.” RS The man behind classics such as “Every Breath You Take” and “Roxanne” partnered with “Jamaican reggae-pop growler Shaggy” RS for this “island-influenced album.” AZ
44/876 “reflects their mutual love of Jamaica – its music, the spirit of its people and vibrancy of its culture. Sting and Shaggy wrote and jammed together for a few weeks in New York City, creating music that seamlessly blends Caribbean rhythms-in traditional and modern styles-with pop craftsmanship and rock energy.” AZ
“Even when the material falls flat, as it frequently does, there’s some pleasure in picturing these two entirely unobjectionable personalities living their best lives, knocking back Coronas while gently busting each other’s chops.” PF It is amusing to hear “Sting, one of the stateliest and most humorless of all of rock elder statesmen,” PF alongside the singer who sang “banging on the bathroom floor” in his cheeky #1 hit “It Wasn’t Me.”
The title refers to the country calling code for their respective home countries – United Kingdom (+44) and Jamaica (876). Shaggy spent the first 18 years of his life in Jamaica before moving to New York City. Sting’s music with the Police was inspired by the region and they spent some time in Jamaica in the 1980s. Sting wrote his biggest hit, “Every Breath You Take,” there. FB
Shaggy noted the Police “were brilliant. They could spot a sound that was cool, the 'it’ sound. That sound was reggae. They put their style to it, then it got played on mainstream airwaves. So for us older reggae guys who were there, it was: ‘Wow, our sound is on the radio!’ ‘Roxanne’ would be playing in Jamaica. It’s cool now at this stage of the game. I'm rockin’ and doing an album with an icon, who is somewhat a pioneer of my genre.” FB
He says of the album, “It’s kind of mash-up…The beauty about what he has done with The Police and even after is he blends all these different styles of music. The basis of what we are doing is reggae, but in some of these songs you might hear jazz chords.” FB “Nobody will mistake [Shaggy] for one of reggae’s greats, but he’s a game performer, down for whatever the album throws at him, be it dub, rocksteady, or yacht rock. His toasts color otherwise colorless songs without disrupting the tasteful romantic vibe Sting sets so carefully.” PF
Sting “evokes the ghost of Bob Marley on the buoyant title track” RS and Morning Is Coming “approximates Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds.’” RS “While 44/876 appears to begin in Jamaica, it gradullay hones in on the pair’s mutual admiration for American life and culture. Beach Boys harmonies drive Dreaming in the U.S.A..” RS
Sting’s “voice has taken on a smoky hue that can work for him when he leans into it, especially on the jazzy, The Dream of the Blue Turtles-styled Waiting for the Break of Day or the torchy Sad Trombone,” PF in which “Sting revisits his inner Tin Pan Alley.” RS This is “actually one of Sting’s more enjoyable albums, simply because he’s actually having fun here.” PF
44/876 won the Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
Notes: The Digital Deluxe and Target Exclusive editions added “If You Can’t Find Love,” “Love Changes Everything,” “16 Fathoms,” and a remix of “Don’t Make Me Wait.” A super deluxe edition bonus disc included live performances of “Don’t Make Me Wait” along with Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” “Fields of Gold,” “Message in a Bottle,” and “Roxanne.” Finally, a CD Deluxed Softpack Edition added two versions of “GOtta Get Back My Baby,” the song “Skank Up (Oh Lawd),” and live versions of “If You Can’t Find Love,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and “Fields of Gold.”
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First posted 11/18/2021.
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