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I could never say that I have ever been a huge Sade fan. I will happily listen to her music if it happens to be on, but I would never deliberately go looking for one of her CD's. That was until she came back from a self imposed break of eight years, and released 'Lover's Rock', which was lapped up by her fans who had waited eagerly for her return, and there are few singers who would be able to manage that, especially without bowing down to the present day electronic pop that we hear so often. Sade co-wrote every track on the album, so they all have that personal touch. I don't know if it just came along at the right time for me, or whether I had matured enough to start and appreciate her talent, but whatever it was, this was certainly one of my best albums for 2000, which was also the year I became a mum, and this was the only CD which would get my daugher off to sleep when she was a baby. Do not expect many upbeat tracks to dance along to, as Sade has decided to stick to what she does best...the soulful ballad with the lyrics to make you cry, and she even managed to get the same band to record with her as she did in the 1990's, which at least gives the same feel to the music. It makes you wonder why she never really had the commercial success that the likes of Alicia Keyes is enjoying now. This album shows an older and more mature Sade, who is certainly carrying some of life's baggage that she has picked up in her absence. **BY YOUR SIDE** This is one of the best opening tracks of an album that I have ever heard. Through the lyrics and her voice, Sade conveys the emotion other singers can only dream of being able to achieve. 'YOU THINK I'D LEAVE YOU DOWN WHEN YOU'RE DOWN ON YOUR KNEES?' is a line which gets me everytime, as it is a line which is so apt for my relationship. I am sure all of you reading this have a similar song. This song is all about supporting the person you love, and showing them tr
uly how much they are worth and how much they can achieve. This track is Sade showing us all what she can do, and it certainly sets the tone for the rest of the album. **FLOW** This song has a bit more a reggae feel (sounds like a Wyclef Jean production in parts) and a more upbeat tone, but it is still without doubt a ballad. This song is about being so in love with someone, but not having the confidence to go with it in case you get hurt, because what you believed was real turns out to be lies. Acoustically, I think that this song would be breathtaking, as at times I felt that I was not able to fully appreciate Sade's voice as the music was forcing itself into the forefront. **KING OF SORROW** 'I'M CRYING EVERYONE'S TEARS' is the opener to this song. Haven't we all felt like that at times? When we think that we feel enough grief and sorrow for everyone, but you have no choice but to carry on and wonder if you will ever feel any different. This is a beautiful track, and it hits the spot everytime. Sade's voice conveys anguish and sorrow with her every word. If you need a good cry then sit down and listen to this song closely, you will soon be wailing! **SOMEBODY ALREADY BROKEN MY HEART** The opening beats of this sound very American R&B, and I was half expecting Toni Braxton's voice to start singing. If these songs are written from experience, then she has had some horrendous relationships, as this song is about how she has been torn apart so many times, that the next person she meets probably won't be able to hurt her badly, as someone has already done that. **ALL ABOUT OUR LOVE** This is a hard song to describe, and if I was made to choose my least favourite on the album then it would be this track. Again it has a touch of reggae to it, but it just falls short of the standard set by the other tracks which have preceeded it. It is a very simple song which does not try too hard,
and this means that it falls short in terms of satisfying the listener. **SLAVE SONG** This is a politically motivated song about a Somalian woman. Sade's voice is accompanied by steel drums, and a very ethnic melody. It is a chant rather than a song, which initially put me off, but the decider for this track are the lyrics, where we hear the woman praying to her god asking for help after she has been kidnapped and taken to a place where she is forced to work as a slave. **THE SWEETEST GIFT** Not a ballad this time, but a lullaby, and it certainly does the job, as this is the song that I used to sing to my daughter, which such beautiful lines as 'QUIETLY WHILE YOU WERE ASLEEP, THE MOON AND I WERE TALKING, I ASKED THAT SHE'D ALWAYS KEEP YOU PROTECTED'. Isn't this how every new parent feels? I am sure that the song started off as a poem, which then had a melody added to it. Sade dedicated this song to the Rainbow's Trust Children's Charity. **EVERY WORD** This all about a woman being deceived by her lover, and discovering the duplicity when she finds a explicit picture in his wallet, and how she feel that her trust has been misplaced. Uniquely for Sade it is the music that is the winner this time round. If I am not mistaken her voice is accompanied by some expert bongo playing which just adds to the feel, and this song should have been released as a single. **IMMIGRANT** You may have deduced from the title, that this song is very much in the same vein as 'Slave Song'. It is very political, but this time Sade looks at the problem of racism. The story she tells is an all too familiar one, and the creative lyrics are supported by an electronic melody, heading towards a dance/ethnic beat. Nothing I can say can create the impression that this song leaves. **LOVERS ROCK** The title track is late on in the running order. It is a song which is just so lyrically wonderful that
it could be anyone's song as they could be adapted to suit anyone's life and situation. 'YOU ARE THE LOVER'S ROCK, THE ROCK THAT I CLING TO'. Hold that thought! **IT'S ONLY LOVE THAT GETS YOU THROUGH** The final track ends the album with a delicate touch, and sends you on your way with the message that in life you will get hurt, but when it comes down to it, love is what actually gets you through the day. A nice thought! The whole album leaves you feeling quite melancholy, but in a way quite positive about what you can be if you just let yourself open up from time to time even if it means being vulnerable. This is a CD I would listen to if I wanted to chill out, or maybe if my husband and I had a rare night alone. Sade's voice is as smooth as velvet, and just glides through the tracks never faltering. It makes you experience the emotion of every song, and then do it again when it is all over. Was it worth the wait? I can say with 100% conviction that it was, and even if you were not a Sade fan before, then you just have to listen to this, and I am sure that it will convert some of you.
Lovers' Rock is a strong return from Sade, but really there was no excuse for anything less , given the amount of time the band has been away. The album is great chill-out music; the arrangements are very sparse, and the reggae-tinged elements remain on a number of tracks. One track especially stands out head and shoulders above the rest - 'King Of Sorrow'. As the title suggests, it is not an especially upbeat track, but it is wondrous. When Sade sings "I'm crying everyone's tears...", you truly believe her; the 'smooth operator's' voice has not lost any of its touch over the years. The tracks generally slip one into another, and the tempo does not change very much, but that should not be taken as a criticism; the whole album simply has a very subdued feel to it. A couple more slightly uptempo tracks along the lines of lead single 'By Your Side' would not go amiss though.
This never was my favourite musical style and no, I would never have bought the album myself. It is and has been my girlfriends favourite album, and with 'rock' in the title I borrowed it and gave it a go. This is a misleading title because there is not a single track on this CD that could be considered even close to rock. This relaxing album will not quicken any pulses or raise anyone’s blood pressure unless you play it as background music on a hot date. Hip-hop backbeats and acoustic guitars dominate the mix as Sade’s voice twists and turns throughout the album. When played at low levels as background music, Sade’s voice loses its presence, but the music still carries the songs. At higher volumes, Sade’s vocals come to the front so that every breathy note and her thick backup tracks can be easily heard. This genre of music is a perfect showcase for her well-recorded vocals. There are rarely more than three or four instruments playing simultaneously at any point on the recording and this openness provides a large stage for Sade. Where Lovers Rock stumbles is in its lack of variety. The album suffers from ballad overdose and a lack of anything truly funky. Some of beats have a good groove, but the record is void of any up-tempo songs to break the slow pace. It’s as if Sade and her songwriters would write a laid-back song and then try with each subsequent track to make each one even more down-tempo. Almost every track is seemingly about love or heartbreak. The subject matter changes on the album’s best track, the reggae-tinged "Immigrant Song" (not to be confused with the Led Zeppelin song of the same title). Sade sings of an unnamed young immigrant boy and his struggle to gain acceptance in a new land. The lyrics are just vague enough to convey a story, but Sade lets the listener fill in the blanks of who the song is really about. If easygoing, well-produced soft love songs are your b
ag, few do it better than Sade, and Lovers Rock should have a home in your CD player. If your looking for rock, please look elsewhere...
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 By Your Side
3 King Of Sorrow
4 Somebody Already Broke My Heart
5 All About Our Love
6 Slave Song
7 The Sweetest Gift
8 Every Word
10 Lovers Rock
11 It's Only Love That Gets You Through