Sade | Soldier of Love | Review

“I only make records when I feel I have something to say…Sade is not a brand.”
Sade Adu stepped onto the music scene in 1984 with her debut Diamond Life. Making her mark with the hit “Smooth Operator,” the Nigerian-Brit mystery woman has captured and kept the fancy of the world ever since. In 25 years, she’s released 5 studio albums, reminding us that music is a masterpiece that need not be rushed. Fans have waited [im]patiently for her return and after a 10 year hiatus, Sade is back with her 6th studio album — Soldier of Love.
The album begins with a guitar chord and Sade’s familiar, cool, calm and collected sound. The simple strumming continues throughout “The Moon and the Sky” and sets the tone for this song about a relationship and its unexpected demise. She sings, You had every star/Every one of them twinkling /Baby what were you thinking?/We had the moon and the sky above/And I gave you my love. While Sade questions why their great love has been abandoned, she assures him that “this love ain’t gon’ let you go.”
I’m at the borderline of my faith/I’m at the hinterland of my devotion/I’m in the frontline of this battle of mine but I’m still alive/I’m a soldier of love. These lyrics describe Sade’s ready for war attitude on “Soldier of Love.” Trumpets, drums and guitars assume the position as instruments of war in the title track. Sade’s husky vocals flow seamlessly with the intense battle march production of the lead single. At the end – love’s weary, yet hopeful soldier – repeats “still waiting for love to come turn it all around.”

The controlled rattling of a tambourine accompanies the piano on “Morning Bird.” A melancholy Sade ruminates about how “the morning bird who sang me into life every day” could just “fly away.”  Although this song is comprised of 3 short verses, the depth & sincerity of the lyrics leaves a lasting impression on listeners.

The reggae tinged “Babyfather” is an endearing song about the apple of Daddy’s eye and the “lifetime guarantee” of a father’s love. Sade sings about a child being the “flame” inspiring their Dad to be “hungry for the man he is today.”
Images of a jazz lounge, clouds of cigar smoke and Sade singing into a vintage mic come to mind when listening to “In Another Time.” The work of karma seems to be Sade’s idea of another time and place as she quips “they’re gonna fall into their brew and they’ll know exactly what they did to you.” After a sax solo, Sade promises  that “in another time, your tears won’t leave a trace.”
Singing, “Now as I begin to wash you off my skin, I’m gonna peel you away,” Sade uses symbolism to describe the process of shedding a love that’s been undone in “Skin”. By peeling away her skin, she leaves no trace of the past and is finally able to “say goodbye.”
Sade continues to demonstrate how a minimalistic approach can yield a great outcome. Although Soldier of Love has its country, pop, Caribbean and hip-hop influences, Sade is still the quiet storm queen. While heart-break and despair are at the forefront of the battle, “the endless pool on the other side” offers glimmers of hope. Even though she may have lost the use of her heart. Sade is still alive. She’s love’s soldier.
Soldier of Love is in stores today, Tuesday February 9th

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