Sade – Soldier of Love
4.5 stars out of 5
Sade, which is short for they-who-take-their-sweet-time, has finally blessed us with a new album, Soldier of Love. The band, which is fronted by the picturesque vocalist Sade Adu, releases their 6th album a full 10 years after their last international smash Lover’s Rock. Sade takes a more uptempo, rhythmic and fast paced (for them) approach to the views of love and the constant struggle and pull that are the emotions and feelings in any relationship, laying bare thoughts and observations over an occiasional uptempo and midtempo musical backdrop. True fans will not be disappointed, and new fans will like what they hear.
The lead single “Soldier of Love” was everything you almost wouldn’t expect from Sade – drums, bass, kicks, rhythmic breakdowns – the whole nine yards. That being said, it’s still a wholly original Sade sound. While you are surprised to hear that it is indeed a Sade record upon first listen, it still stands its own within the Sade musical canon. The overall sound is advanced yet still recognizable, which shows a true rate of growth and maturation of their sound – as opposed to a forced “growth”, which most pop tarts and aspiring pop divas aim for today. Longevity is a beautiful creative force in and of itself.
“Morningbird” feels like a largely instrumental track with Sade guesting with the occiasional vocal, while “Babyfather” is a track that could have been an iTunes bonus track in my opinion as it comes off a bit jarring in contrast to the rest of the album sonically. Despite the tempo of a lot of Sade’s tracks on this album, they are tight compositions that go by pretty quickly and don’t “drag on forever”, as slower tempo music seems to do sometimes – this is exemplified on the track “Long Hard Road”.
It’s hard to hate Sade’s mellifluous, smoothed out alto unless you are one that gets bored easily (and if that’s the case, you probably aren’t reading this ANYWAY!). Her vocals, lilting at times, gentle yet strong is a treat as there aren’t any vocal acrobatics you have to trace with your finger. No flips and dips that make you dizzy – just pure vocals backed by a talented band and strengthened by stories and lyrics and melodies; all which is seemingly missing from music these days.
Other uptempo tracks include “Bring Me Home” and “Skin”, both which provide a much needed boost at just the right time , “Skin” being a great song & track; and also “In Another Time” which seems prime for a movie/soundtrack placement. Overall, Sade has taken the time to craft another album that is excellent and is sure to keep her fans happy. Some artists and songwriters boast of being able to write a song in 5 minutes or less, but remember, you get what you put out. 10 years to learn, grow, observe and report back to a changing world definitely show in your music, and we the fans are all the better for our patient wait.