Sting unleashed his stripped-down rock single, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” Thursday on The Late Show. Backed by a powerful band, including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller, the singer-bassist ripped through the track, a highlight from his newly released 12th LP, 57th & 9th.
The former Police rocker also sat down with host Stephen Colbert for a wide-ranging chat. Sting said he isn’t feeling smug about Donald Trump’s presidential victory since England is still sorting through fallout of the Brexit movement. “We had a similar shock in June when 52 percent voted Brexit,” he said. “I voted to stay. We’re right in the middle of a constitutional crisis which no one is smart enough to figure out … It’s a diabolical problem.”
Switching gears, Sting revealed that meditation inspired the title of his latest LP, which returns to more straightforward rock song structures after his more “esoteric” work of the last decade. “I live on the Upper West Side, and my studio was in Hell’s Kitchen,” he said. “I walked to work every day, and on the way, I had to stop at 57th because it’s a two-way street. Traffic is busy, cab drivers trying to kill you, as you know. I would just use that time to do a little meditation on the corner: think about the work I’m doing in the studio, about my life, the privilege I have living here in the city.”
He also detailed the torturous songwriting process for “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,” saying: “I would get home from the studio at night with only a song structure, and on the walk home I’d be thinking, ‘How am I going to make this into a song?'” he said. “So I’d get home to my home on Central Park West and lock myself out on the terrace in the freezing cold, and I wouldn’t be allowed to go in the house until I’d finished a lyric. It’s madness, but you put yourself out of your comfort zone so you can create. You have to write yourself out of the problem. And [‘I Can’t Stop Thinking About You’] is exactly that song: It’s about freezing cold, about hunting for inspiration in the cold.”