First Impressions: Sade Treads Softly and Exquisitely Across Love's Battleground

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In an age where pop tarts pop out of the toaster of sound with high calories and less substance to keep you full shorter than four hours, it's easy to see why Sade's return to the music world after a ten year hiatus is welcomed with open arms.

If you're a music connoisseur, the UK Jazz/Soul collective isn't unfamiliar territory. In some way shape or form, the quiet storm rumbles of Sade (mainly comprised of Sade Adu, Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman and Andrew Hale ) have invaded your life. Their catalog begins in 1984 with the release of their debut album, Diamond Life and has continued with the larger than life sounds of modern classics such as, "Smooth Operator", "Is It A Crime?", "The Sweetest Taboo" and "No Ordinary Love", plus many more.

There are some critics who are trying to figure out how Sade Adu will fit into a new generation of listeners, yet why should it matter what age bracket Sade wedges into? All it takes for her to command an audience is by seducing with that husky tone of hers, and captivation has been achieved especially on this new set. Soldier of Love is the group's sixth set and it plays like a continuation of 2000's Lover's Rock, yet it is it's elder and wiser sister.

Soldier of Love is nothing short of elegant. The album was carefully crafted and pays attention to details in each composition. No surprise since Sade is a premiere band who know about the "good old days" of album crafting...you know, the days when artists actually cared what their audience was listening to, not engaging in selfish narcissistic endeavors or trying to rack up chart action. Sade made an album for those who have enjoyed their previous work, for those who want to rediscover what the band has to offer and an album for those who just want something rich and  to ooze out of their players. In short, Sade made a record that is a full course meal that is satisfying till the end.


The new journey of sound began with the release of the title track back in November of 2009, and it still marches just as thunderous when it first emerged rousing fanfare. Strangely, it is the more boisterous track on this set, yet it melds well with the other soulful lullabies present.

The lush opener, "The Moon and The Sky" is cradled in Spanish guitar licks and is truly a work of lyrical art, as this is a definite winner of a track. Truly one of my favorites off of the set.


"The Moon and The Sky" is another example of Sade's ability to craft a searing slow number as you can hear it effectively pulled in the engulfing "Morning Bird" which embodies a haunting sound that is in a class of its own. Same can be said for "Skin", where lyrical word play is nicely woven into a soothing soul backdrop.

"Babyfather" rocks on a lush Reggae beat as it sweetly glides along. Another standout track that is begging for a single release.


"In Another Time" rekindles 1950's doo-wop, yet it's simmers in a steady rising steam, and it's absolutely charming with it's slow burn and ability to spark romantic gestures. Sade's voice really dips into seductive mode on this gorgeous track.


As said before, Sade's Soldier of Love is truly a testament of the group's strength as a musical collective, even though a majority of the tracks are a little bit more subdue than previous efforts. The arrangements are intricate, the sound is majestic and the content is refined. Fans of Sade have no doubt been waiting for something of this accord, as this stays true to the band's format of yesteryear, but also marches right into a new beginning for the band.

Rating: 9.6/10
Release Date: February 9, 2010

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