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Sting’s first pop album in 13 years will include songs about Prince, refugees

Pop icon Sting has announced plans to release his first pop album in 13 years, after having spent that time working on symphonic, musical theater, and lute-based material.

The legendary English bassist’s newly announced record will be called 57th & 9th — a name borrowed from an intersection near the New York studio where much of the material was recorded, according to Rolling Stone.

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Songs on the upcoming album were influenced by a myriad of pop-culture events, including a song called 50,000, which was written the week that Prince was found dead in his Minnesota recording studio. Other tracks from the outspokenly liberal songwriter are typically political, including Inshallah, about refugees in Europe, and One Fine Day, a song that targets climate change deniers.

“It’s rockier than anything I’ve done in a while. 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,” the musician said.

The majority of the upcoming record was written in the studio with musicians like drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and guitarist Dominic Miller on hand, rather than slowly penned over the intervening years between 2003’s Sacred Love and today. Of the writing process, Sting said, “It raises the tension, because everything costs money.”

As far as what to expect in terms of sales, the British musician has tempered expectations since 1999’s Brand New Day went multiplatinum.

“The record industry is in a state of chaos and flux,” he said, “I have no idea what expectations are. It’s not like the old days. Rock ‘n’ roll is a traditional form now. It’s not socially cohesive like it used to be.”

A release date for 57th & 9th has yet to be announced.