While the compilation ”NOW That’s What I Call Music! 4” holds at No. 1 on this week’s Billboard album chart, selling 240,000 copies, the big news is that Sting’s ”Brand New Day” – released in October 1999 – enters the top 10 for the first time. Sting’s seventh album, which features that ingratiating chant laden nugget ”Desert Rose,” hops from No. 13 to No. 10. Here’s how the album made its 45 week climb.
The Grammy Boost In the week following the Feb. 23 Grammy telecast – when Sting performed ”Rose” and also snagged two awards, ”Best Pop Album” and ”Best Male Pop Performance” – ”Brand New Day” got a 104% sales kick, moving from its lowest chart position to date (No. 82) to a things are looking-up No. 29. ”Sting got a lot of attention from winning that Grammy,” says Billboard writer Chuck Taylor. Adds Steve Berman, the head of marketing at Sting’s label, Interscope: ”The Grammys were important because they launched that song.”
That Inescapable Tune Shortly after the Grammys, ”Rose,” which features Algerian crooner Cheb Mami, began its multiformat assault on the public. First strike? The dance clubs. A ”Rose” remix by Victor Calderone, who’s also worked with Madonna, reached No. 5 on the club play charts in April. Next up was VH1, which put both the original and the remix version of the video into heavy rotation. But what really increased the song’s profile and stoked album sales, says Berman, was its use on a picturesque TV commercial for Jaguar automobiles. Explains Taylor: ”Making a hit today is all about multimedia exposure. It takes more than radio, particularly because with [older] artists like Sting you can’t count on radio support. So the more exposure you get on different types of media, the better.”
The Sting Thing Though critics may slag Sting as middle of the road (EW likened ”Brand New Day” to ”aural wallpaper”), he was ripe for a comeback. Movie roles and charity work have kept him in the public eye, yet unlike some aging rockers he’s never been sullied by sellouts or scandals. (Even his kinky sounding Tantric sex talk seems tame when you remember that he’s discussing his 18 year relationship with his wife.) ”Sting has a very solid and credible reputation in the U.S.,” says Taylor. ”He doesn’t really have any baggage. So the public is always open to hearing him.”
Okay, that’s the story of Sting, but in other chart news… well, there’s not much other chart news. The top 5 stay exactly the same as last week: bouncin’ and behavin’ Britney Spears at No. 2, newcomer Nelly at No. 3, the exasperating Eminem at No. 4, and ‘nfectious ‘N Sync at No. 5. Switching places are Florida’s Creed (No. 7 to No. 6) and Papa Roach (No. 6 to No. 7), whose ”Last Resort” is the No. 2 most played clip on MTV. And, lastly 3 Doors Down (No. 8) and the ”Nutty Professor 2” soundtrack (No. 9) hold their spots from last week. Here’s hoping that Eminem will hurry up and piss somebody else off so the charts can get interesting again.