I Hung My Head - Sting (1996)
Sting is beyond a guilty pleasure of mine because no artist that writes such perfectly crafted songs should ever be considered such. Across his first five solo albums,all co-produced with the genius Hugh Padgham it is near impossible to find a moment to be ashamed of. The storytelling streak that his muse has blessed him with since " Don't Stand So Close To Me" is given full fruition on this album track from 1996. It is a western murder ballad played in 9/8 time with a brass section. While that may sound wretched on paper, it wraps itself around the listener to the point where you don't even notice it. All you can see in your mind's eye is the tragic story. I have followed Sting from excursions into Classical lute playing through symphonic re-recordings of his classics on down to the best Christmas album I have heard in years. Gordon Sumner is a restless musical spirit, but each shaded glen he takes you down will enrich your sensibilities ad infinitum.
Then again, this could easily be the definitive version for most people, and I would not fault them one bit.