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Starting off as a backing singer in 1981, Sade kicked off her career with a group named "Pride". From this date forward Sade with the other band members from the group "Pride" toured around the UK for three years showing off the talents at many different locations.
During her time in pride she co-wrote a song named "Smooth Operator" with a man called 'Ray St. John', which she then performed and attracted the great attention off of a scout who Sade denied being signed up as she felt that loyalty was far more important, and felt she wanted to make it big as a group. 18 months later though, she soon agreed to take up a contract with 'Epic Records' but her conditions were that she took three of her band members with her.
Signing up to this contract was probably the best thing she ever did in my opinion as not long after she made it into the top ten with a song named 'Your Love Is King' and from 1984 onwards, it was the birth of Sade !
Diamond Life was released in the same year of 1984 and this was then her first published album. Four different albums were then realsed quite closely together after this first album and these were... "Promise" in 1985, "Stronger Than Pride" in 1988, "Love Deluxe" in 1992 and then finally a "Best Of Sade" album was released in 1994. Six years down the line after a long awaited break she released "Lovers Rock" this was 2000 and then her record company in 2002 released an album named "Lovers Live" which was a live recording of her live tour in 2001. Now a massive ten years long wait, Sade has finally released a great album which can only be described as 'fresh' in my opinion. "Soldier Of Love"
To describe the music of Sade is quite hard in it's self but lets just say it is very elegant and smooth. Her voice is very gentle and soothing and she usually has jazz in the back ground to harmonize with her voice. To me I thought Soldiers of Love is going to be just the same. The album itself has just simply 10 tracks but just let me tell you this, each one of these songs could account for at least ten different songs as the quality and thought behind them is so endeaving.
I guess it's time to actually get to the album now. Her opening track for her newest album is just how I thought Sade would be, some very deep lyrics and a soft and slow beat which is very easy to listen to.
This next song suprised me though, as I reached the album song "Soldier Of Love" Sade had turned upside down. The song is a very fierce and angry song, which creates very violent images in your head, but as I listened on I do have to admit, I liked it alot and it made to be honest a very nice change from her normal scene. The rest of the album was very much out of the ordinary for Sade, but each song managed to hold its individuality and was very original.
Although this album is very different from Sade's other album, it does not in anyway fall lower in fact all Sade has ever done is managed to increase the quality of each of her albums and made them all her own keeping them very original. If you was to take every one of her albums from start to finish I think that the majority of people out there would definately take a liking to Sade and would be able to see that each of her albums are very different in there own little way and they all hold there originality which is very important in been a music producer and is something that alot of modern singers do not have.
Overall I think I would give this album a rating of: 8/10
Music Style 4/5
Music Lyrics 4/5
A review of Soldier of Love, the 6th studio album from Sade. Soldier of Love was released in the UK on February 8th 2010 and is available in physical format and as a download. Expect to pay around £7 for either version. The track listing is identical on each.
==A Very Smooth Operator==
In the 1980s, the album charts were dominated by a rather unassuming R&B group. Named Sade after the Nigerian lead singer, the group had four successful studio albums throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s and defined a different sound in an era that was widely regarded for more electronic, synth-based music. There was something unquestionably exotic about Sade. It was partly the silky, lush vocals of the lead vocalist, but it was about more than just one singer. Sade incorporated warm, sensual melodies into subtle, soulful love songs that probably accompanied more candlelit suppers than any bottle of Beaujolais. Sade never sold huge volumes of singles. Astoundingly, only Your Love Is King, their debut single in the UK, made the top 10, but many of their songs remain era classics to this day, notably Smooth Operator, which has featured in countless film soundtracks and somehow fails to age a single day.
Despite being relatively prolific throughout the 1980s, the band decided to retire in the 1990s. Lead vocalist Sade Adu was notoriously strict about maintaining privacy for her family and her decision to withdraw from the market was strongly motivated by her desire to raise a family. After the fourth studio album in 1992, the band ceased to record any more music until they reformed in 2000. Ten years later, the group once again recorded a new album, to a rapturous reception from fans and critics alike.
==If You Set Me Free, I Will Run==
Soldier of Love is, arguably, not particularly removed from Sade's previous output. Arranged briefly across ten tracks (relatively unusual in the current climate) Soldier of Love is a sombre, sultry and characteristically understated collection that represents the musical equivalent of sitting in front of an open log fire. There's comfort to be drawn from the fact that Sade haven't really changed. Adu's voice (now 51 years old) has barely changed a shred in the ten years since we last heard from her and the overall sound of Soldier of Love is comforting in itself. Laid back, chilled out grooves and subtle musical arrangement is the order of the day here and it's fair to say that in the 'candlelit supper' market, there are few others that can emulate the style of Sade.
Each of the ten tracks was written and produced almost exclusively by the members of the band and there's something protective and intimate about the sound here. This isn't an album that tries to be anything other than what it is that Sade love to be. It's almost as though the disc was recorded as a private session, and the album release was a secondary consideration, allowing the band to share some of its intimate secrets with a waiting audience. Soldier of Love proves that whereas other bands and artists feel a constant need and pressure to re-invent themselves, bands like Sade are so affirmed in what it is that they do, there's really no need to deviate.
What that doesn't mean, however, is that this is something that we've all heard before, because that simply isn't true. Soldier of Love dwells on different themes and generally has a different mood to earlier Sade albums, reflecting, perhaps on the increased maturity of the band members and the different places in which they find themselves. The likes of Diamond Life and Promise were, for example, unashamedly romantic. Soldier of Love, however, has a rather more sombre sound to it. Sade's 'get up and go' hasn't 'got up and gone' but it certainly doesn't have the passion it once did.
==Long Hard Road==
It has to be said that Adu's vocal range has always been limited. Never a singer to push the boundaries, Adu's material caters for a voice that has defined limits and as the ten tracks unfold here, it runs the risk of starting to wash over you. The album suffers from a lack of memorable, likeable melodies, and whilst the overall mood is appealing in a relaxing, meditating kind of way, the risk is that one track starts to blend into the next. The tempo of each track struggles to increase beyond (or below) a certain point, and there's little to distinguish each of the songs here. There are exceptions to this, of course. Opening track The Moon and the Sky starts with a haunting string arrangement that seems to lure the listener in like some kind of supernatural force and is arguably one of the strongest tracks on the album. Ironically, by the time you've reached track six, Be That Easy, you find yourself yearning for something to come along and wake things up a little, which really only leads to further disappointment.
It's true to say that you have to be in the right mood for Soldier of Love. This isn't an album that complements every mood. Indeed, this was almost destined to be background music. It's just not decisive enough to stand up to a more demanding environment. That in itself isn't a problem (music is very often the perfect accompaniment to so many things) but does go some way to explain the fact that the album did relatively good numbers in the album chart, and has failed to even scrape the singles chart. It doesn't help that the tracks selected aren't perhaps the strongest representation. The military-sounding percussion of Soldier of Love, for example, is vaguely interesting, but the song isn't the best showcase for Adu's vocals and occasionally seems to fall rather flat. The Moon and The Sky would almost certainly have had a bigger impact on the radio and the follow-up, Babyfather, is even less appealing. The fusion of gentle reggae sounds, along with a curious vocal about a father figure doesn't really make any connection here and the song has yet to even dent the top 200.
The Sade of the 1980s came at a time when the economy was strong and the world was seen as a relatively hopeful place. Songs like Smooth Operator were the perfect accompaniment to the 'yuppies' of the era and it's curious to see how the mood of Sade's music has shifted. Soldier of Love suggests that love is now a conflict, a definite contrast to the love that was 'making my soul sing' in the 1980s. But the resilience reflects well on the band's approach to music here. Soldier of Love is a darker, rather more serious album than earlier material but connects well with a time when the climate is gloomy, economically and in many ways socially.
There's something rather retrospective about Soldier of Love. Songs like 'In Another Time' reflect on events of the past, rather than that hopeful aspiration of love and romance. Lyrics like 'in another time girl, your tears won't leave a trace' are, perhaps, a more realistic reflection of love, loss and heartache and if you listen closely, Soldier of Love runs the risk of becoming a rather depressing experience. There is, however, an inherent aspiration for the future here that betrays the slightly morose tone of this album. 'Long Hard Road' might sound like a struggle, but there's a positive message to be taken here, with such wise words as 'here I could stay but I'll keep moving on'.
There's a definite maturity to the sound and the lyrics here. These are not simple songs and if you've the will to listen closely, you'll be left to find your own personal interpretation for many of them. 'Bring Me Home' is perhaps lyrically the most complex song on the whole album and ranges from sublime to awkward. 'I've cried for the lives I've lost, like a child in need of love' points beautifully to an inherent longing, which is then crushed against a strange lyric that says 'the small step I need to take is a mountain, stretched out like a lazy dog.'
It's difficult to know how to 'feel' about this album. There's something deep and reassuring about a vocalist whose sound seems barely to have changed in over twenty years and that's one of Soldier of Love's most redeeming qualities. There's a welcome familiarity to this that transcends years of X-Factor styled pop singers and reminds us of a band that has stayed true to its musical roots throughout. Soldier of Love is unquestionably sensual and if it had the energy it would virtually demand that you slip into something comfortable, pour yourself a glass of wine and luxuriate in front of an open fire.
Conversely, however, it's a rather difficult beast to tame and Soldier of Love is an extremely difficult disc with which to make a connection. The intimacy of the production here is almost exclusive, as though you've stumbled onto a sound you were never really supposed to share and this is one of the least accessible albums from a group that was previously loved and admired by a large number of people. Where some listeners will find soul and sensuality, others will find sobriety and standoffishness, all of which makes for a very awkward combination. Realistically, if you get the mood and the moment wrong, Soldier of Love is frequently bland and uninspiring and like anything connected to the heart, this album requirea careful handling. Only you can decide whether this Soldier of Love is worth fighting for.
1. The Moon and the Sky
2. Soldier of Love
3. Morning Bird
5. Long Hard Road
6. Be That Easy
7. Bring Me Home
8. In Another Time
10. The Safest Place
For a taster of tracks off the album, you can check out the band's website at http://www.sade.com/gb/home/
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - A FRESH START FOR SADE? - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Although I like to think of myself as someone who has an almost decent musical knowledge, there are a number of individuals and bands who have managed to escape my attention over the last few decades. One such group is 'Sade' - the soul-infused and somewhat jazzy British quartet featuring vocalist Sade Adu (real name Hene Folasade Adu). Without delving too far into the past, Sade have been producing music since their formation in 1982, and have to date released six studio albums. Sade's latest release (and the subject of today's review) is 'Soldier of Love' - but considering the fact that there has been a ten year gap beween this release and the band's previous album, the question must be asked 'Have Sade still got the ability to produce fresh and inspirational music after all this time?'
- - - - - - - THE TRACKS - quality not quantity? - ten songs - - - - - - -
Opening with 'The Moon and the Sky', the album opts for a relaxed and somewhat ethereal beginning. On hearing the track for the first time, it felt quite reminiscent of Sting's 'Inside' from his 'Sacred Love' album - the laid-back reggae beat infused with frequent warm-toned acoustic guitar and string backing creates a surprising aural similarity. On the whole though, I would actually class the track a disappointing opening, which isn't especially memorable or noteworthy - "You'll always know, the reason why, we could have had the moon and the sky". Title track 'Soldier of Love' is more creative than its predecessor, and probably ranks as my favourite track on the album. Featuring a military style snare, and the occasional whine of distorted guitar, the song feels more contemporary than anything else on the disc. It's certainly interesting, and instantly catchy - "I'm at the borderline of my faith... In the frontline of this battle of mine but I'm still alive"
Third track 'Morning Bird' slows the tempo down once more with a haunting piano intro before building with simple percussion and Adu's pure vocals. The song is an example of musical minimalism, and like many of the other tracks on the album, needs to be listened to a few times before it's fully appreciated. However carefully crafted and thoughtful the track is, Morning Bird is undoubtedly a little depressing in tone, and isn't something that I could listen to on a regular basis - "You are the blood of me, the harvest of my dreams, there's no way I can find peace, and the silence won't cease". The mood is lifted with fourth track 'BabyFather' which has a more hopeful air about it, and is certainly more fun than the two songs which have gone before. Here, the normally private Adu opens up and provides the listener with a glimpse into her private life and relationships - "We were waiting for the bus, no-one much around but us, then I see this young boy take a look at me..."
Featuring delicate and perfectly lilting vocals, 'Long Hard Road' is another example of a track from the album which could have easily have been penned by Mr Gordon Sumner (a.k.a Sting). As a whole, the song is a little slow and repetitive for my liking, but the use of what sounds like a cello brings about an emotive atmosphere - "And when in this life, in this life, when I can only turn my chin, I know it's gonna be alright". 'Be That Easy' opens with country-eque slide guitar, although the track as a whole is fairly far removed from the country genre. In fact, it's more like one of Amy Winehouse's slower songs, and it works rather well. Be That Easy is nicely paced and constructed, featuring interesting vocal harmonization in the chorus, which tranform it into one of Soldier of Love's better efforts - "But I am a broken house, I'm holding on a broken bough, Now it's easy for me to see, It couldn't be that easy".
'Bring Me Home' brings with it a toned-down hip-hop beat, and a hummed vocal harmony through both the verse and chorus. The song's basis is an arpeggio guitar loop, which runs for the duration and forms a solid backbone to the track's structure - "The ground is full of broken stones, the last leaf has fallen, I have nowhere to turn now, not east, west, north or south". 'In Another Time' would probably fit into the genre of 'ballad' - the vocals are incredibly laid back, and the overall result is a relaxing number. An extended piano intro sets the tone perfectly, and later in the track, the introduction of saxophone brings about a jazzy quality. That said, as a whole I personally find the song it a little non-descript and dull - "In another time girl, tears won't leave a trace, in another time girl, in another place".
Beginning with pronounced percussion featuring a pumping bass drum, 'Skin' is perhaps a semi-tribute to the late Michael Jackson, as it features one of his high pitched trademark "oooh's", and the lyrics "Sure has it, gonna play and play, like Michael back in the day" The song actually sounds a little dated, and reminds me of the rather bland early 90's Top of the Pops Soul music which I managed to successfully avoid at the time. Final track 'The Safest Place' is a fitting close to the album, and works as a decent summery as to what has gone before - here, Adu sounds pretty good with pitch perfect yet relaxed vocals - "In my heart, your love has found, the safest hiding place, inside a field, and trees and a lake".
- - - - FINAL WORD - an essential purchase... or an essential avoid!? - - - -
As albums go, I have to admit that Sade's 'Soldier of Love' isn't something which I would normally buy - it's a bit too mild mannered for my liking. That said, the album is undoubtedly a carefully considered and occasionally emotional comeback which will potentially please much of Sade's long-term fan base. Soldier of Love needs to be heard a number of times before it can be fully appreciated, and on first listen could easily be regarded as the generic background music wafting from the speakers of your local wine bar. Where the album suffers is in the fact that a number of tracks are fairly similar to one another - even the ones that are based in a separate genre seem to almost merge together. My favourite song would have to be the title track 'Soldier of Love', which is interesting considering it's the one which shows the most willingness to stray from the style which has brought Sade a number of fans *and* critics over the years. I think three out of five dooyoo stars would be a fitting reward.
- - - - - - - - - - - - ADDITIONAL INFO - full track listing - - - - - - - - - - - -
1. 'The Moon and the Sky' - 4.28
2. 'Soldier of Love' - 5.59
3. 'Morning Bird' - 3.55
4. 'Babyfather' - 4.40
5. 'Long Hard Road' - 3.03
6. 'Be That Easy' - 3.41
7. 'Bring Me Home' - 4.09
8. 'In Another Time' - 5.06
9. 'Skin' - 4.13
10. 'The Safest Place' - 2.46
- - - - - PRICE & AVAILABILITY - the cost and the purchase options - - - - -
Sade's Soldier of Love can currently be purchased in CD form for £7.99 from amazon.co.uk, or £6.99 as a digital download from the iTunes store. Individual tracks from the album can also be downloaded from iTunes at a cost of 79p each.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Moon and the Sky
2 Soldier of Love
3 Morning Bird
5 Long Hard Road
6 Be That Easy
7 Bring Me Home
8 In Another Time
10 The Safest Place