Pop Culture

Sting sails new album 'The Last Ship' into TODAY studio

Musician Sting has worn a number of hats over the course of his long career, including lead singer of The Police, hugely successful solo artist, and occasional actor. His latest incarnation? Author of a Broadway musical, of course: His 14th album, "The Last Ship," was released Tuesday and in 2014 will provide the rollicking tunes for a stage production.

"I want to honor my community, the community that built the biggest ships in the world," Sting, who as Gordon Sumner grew up in the shipbuilding town of Newcastle, England, told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on Tuesday. "We've written a kind of allegory about that community."

Songs like "What Have We Got," which he performed inside the TODAY studio, were a real change of perspective for the singer, who has been recording since the late 1970s. 

"I just got sick of me, just got sick of looking inward," he said. "So writing for other voices than my own, other actors, other points of view than my own really freed me up."

But when Guthrie and Lauer asked whether songs like his early Police hit "Roxanne" (which they helpfully sang a bit of) ever turned into personal earworms, he had to demur. "I tend to have new songs going 'round in my head," he said.