It’s been just a little bit over a year since Donald Trump was sworn into office, and since then, it seems like the world has fallen into new and unforeseen levels of shambles. It seemed about time for some element of lawful good to intercede, if only in the cultural landscape, and today our subconscious prayers have been answered: Shaggy and Sting have recorded a full-length album together. The title? 44/876, of course; no explanation given or needed.
What does one even say? After collaborating on a song intended for a new Shaggy album, the “It Wasn’t Me” hitmaker -- who Sting calls “the pope of Jamaica” -- and the former Police frontman -- whom Shaggy ingeniously calls “Sumner” -- decided to widen their scope, drink a lot of rum, and refine the sound they’d happened upon. To Rolling Stone, “Sumner” called it, quite simply, “surprising.” It is surprising that it exists, but to music fans familiar with the sound of both artists, the end musical result is exactly what one might expect: island rhythms folksified on acoustic guitar, extemporaneous and soulful call-and-response vocals, and 1998 drum machine sounds. Sting on Jamaica: “I recognized that it has a magic you just can’t explain.” My man!