Sade - Soldier of Love

2010-02-05 11:27
Soldier of Love

It's a yearning acoustic soul ballad about breaking up that drifts along to a jazzy guitar groove reminiscent of Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles. Right, so after a decade on sabbatical it's business as usual for pop music's smooth operator, then?

Hardly. "I only make records when I feel I have something to say. I'm not interested in releasing music just for the sake of selling something. Sade is not a brand" cautions the Nigerian-born British songbird about her first album in a decade. Granted, these are noble sentiments in our late capitalist age of media hype and instant star spin, but what exactly does the smooth urban pop icon have to say now she's turned 50?

Well, first single "Soldier of Love" is a haunting meditation on the spiritually, financially and artistically bankrupt age we live in that swings to an hypnotic brew of tribal rock rhythms and broken trip-hop textures last heard on Massive Attack's Blue Lines. Don't fret. Sade is a subtle songbird. "It's the wild wild west, I'm doing my best. I'm at the borderline of my faith. I'm at the hinterland of my devotion. I'm in the front line of this battle of mine. But I'm still alive" she sings, eschewing any soap box sentiments for a sincere hymn to patience, perserverance and self-preservation.

Sade's signature quiet storm seduction (cf. "Diamond Life" and "Sweetest Taboo") has evolved since 2000's Lover's Rock. Her candlelit come-on now finds expression in a sublime array of electro-acoustic soul pop settings that segue between stark piano ballad torch songs about paradise lost ("Morning Bird") and quirky pop reggae celebrations of falling in love ("Babyfather") to country-jazzy and symphonic soul kissed daydreams about the desire to change the world one small step at a time ("Long Hard Road", "Be That Easy").

"You could have let me love anyone, but I only wanted you. So why did you make me cry? Why didn't you come get me one last time?" implores Sade on polished urban pop serenade "The Moon and the Sky".

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