Frank OckenfelsWhen was the last time Sting made a rock album? If you can’t remember, that’s not surprising, considering that for years, he’s been dabbling in Christmas carols, lute music, orchestral music and Broadway musicals — everything but guitar-driven songs. But get ready, because the old Sting is coming back.

Rolling Stone reports that the ex-Police man is working on a new album called 57th & 9th which is “rockier than anything I’ve done in a while,” he says. “This record is a sort of omnibus of everything that I do, but the flagship seems to be this energetic thing. I’m very happy to put up the mast and see how it goes.”

It seems to be going well, according to Sting’s new manager, Martin Kierszenbaum. He tells Rolling Stone, “Most of it was done in an impulsive way. One or two takes. I don’t think he’s rocked like this since Synchronicity.” That Police album came out in 1983.

The songs on the album tackle hot-button current events such as refugees and climate-change deniers, and one track, “50,000,” was inspired by the death of Prince earlier this year.

“Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age — I’m 64,” Sting tells Rolling Stone. “It’s really a comment on how shocked we all are when one of our cultural icons dies: Prince, David [Bowie], Glenn Frey, Lemmy. They are our gods, in a way. So when they die, we have to question our own immortality. Even I, as a rock star, have to question my own.”

As for why he’s returning to rock, Sting says, “For me, the most important element in all music is surprise. I’ll keep throwing curveballs. It’s my journey; people are welcome to share it with me.”

There’s no release date yet for 57th & 9th. Sting’s currently out on the joint Rock Paper Scissors tour with Peter Gabriel.

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