Music’s mystery lady is back, proving true the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m talking about Sade Adu, and the avant-soul band that bears her name Sade. The band’s latest album, “Soldier of Love,” is in stores now.
Music’s mystery lady is back, proving true the old adage: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I’m talking about Sade Adu, and the avant-soul band that bears her name Sade. The band’s latest album, “Soldier of Love,” is in stores now.
Sade intrigues me, even after 25 years in the music business. She doesn’t change, nor does she feel the need to do so — her music stands the test of time.
Check out a few of her early offerings like “Smooth Operator” and “Sweetest Taboo” again. They’re still fresh and every bit as good today as they were back then, when Madonna and Whitney Houston commanded most of the attention.
While some saw Sade as just another singer standing on the sidelines, I saw someone who truly embraced who and what she was. She didn’t seem to get caught up in the whole madness.
Today, at 51, while her contemporaries are struggling to keep up an image gone by, Sade is just as beautiful as she was in the video for “Smooth Operator.”
“Soldier of Love” is the band’s first release since 2000’s “Lover’s Rock, which won a Grammy for Best Pop Album. The new album, to me, is a continuation of what has always worked for her. It’s pure, real, and ever-so-classy Anglo-soul that it naturally stands out from the pack.
Why tamper with a winning recipe? Better yet, why not just wait a few years between releases, so the music always seems fresh?
The album’s first single and title track may be her best work to date — or at least a close second to “No Ordinary Love.” Her trademark smoky vocals, which are instantly recognizable, deliciously drift over the martial-like hip-hop beats building to a climax that ultimately doesn’t come – pure Sade magic.
If you're not hooked, you might think of Sade as a singles band and not an album artist. I purchased “Paradise” only to permanently park it on the shelf. However, “Soldier of Love” is different. It’s good from beginning to end.
Its reggae-inflected mellow vibe begins with “The Moon and the Sky,” where Sade ushers in the hushed, sultry tones of heartbreak through 10 tracks ending with “The Safest Place,” which easily could be the same rhythm, flow and style of any of her other songs.
Other obvious standouts include “Be That Easy,” “Bring Me Home,” “Morning Bird,” “Long Hard Road” and “Babyfather.”
What I find compelling about the band is that its members are just as elusive as their lead singer. They’ve also been with her since Day 1. What artist can say that? She’s either awesome to work with or the ultimate smooth operator.
“Soldier of Love” gets two thumbs up.
David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.