"Soldier of Love" by Sade

Sade
Soldier of Love

Sony Music Entertainment
2010

Review

Sade sure take their time putting out new records. With their last offering (the solid Lovers Rock) coming out some ten years ago, fans of that album (like me) have had a long wait for Sade's return. The good news is "Soldier Of Love" is equal in tone and polish to that record and in a sense seems like it could have been recorded at about the same time and just sat in a vault for ten years until it was time to release another set of music out to the fans. Well, as the saying goes, if it ain't broke don't break it (or something) so if you have ever heard a song sung by Sade and company then you know precisely what to expect here: Sade Adu's silky smooth (operating) voice over moody jazz and light rock influenced soul music.

What a concept for a song. "Solider Of Love". I suppose anyone who's ever gone through some sort of heartache can have the idea of being a soldier fighting the war of love resonate with them. Interestingly enough, the titular song is the most (shall I say) different song that I've heard from Sade this side of "No Ordinary Love". Over very militaristic snare drums and very big dramatic guitar licks, Sade compares the many times her heart has been broken to battles fought as a soldier and she sells it quite well.

I've been torn up inside
I've been left behind
So I rise
I have the will to survive
In the wild wild west
Trying my hardest
Doing my best to stay alive
I'm a solder

Don't expect the rest of the album to try to reinvent the Sade sound, however. The title track is about as far as we push the boundaries on this one. That isn't a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, however. You're still going to get those somber tracks in rapid succession (perhaps with the exception of the uplifting "Babyfather").

There's just something about Sade's voice that can make a sad song seem that much more somber. There are moments on this album where I knew that the song was supposed to set a mood of melancholy but even armed with that knowledge I couldn't help but really get a bit down. Listen to "Long Hard Road" or "The Moon And The Sky" for examples of what I mean. When the band is at their best is when they are creating a mood.

You always know the reason why we couldn't have the moon and the sky

You feel it in your heart and your belly aches just a bit. At least it did for me and isn't that what great art is supposed to do? Make you feel? Of course there are few moments where I didn't quite get that connection ("Long Hard Road", "Be That Easy" and "The Safest Place") but those are exceptions.

By far my favorite track on the album is "Skin". The opening drums reminded me of the track "One Time" off of the last Smokey Robinson album. There's just a big old mellow yet somber vibe to this song that had me taking it for spin after spin. Ballad wise, "In Another Time" impressed me the most with its almost do-op feel.

What else can I say here? If you like the Sade sound (somber soundscapes, smooth vibes, jazz instruments, and an airy, sultry, and seductive voice singing songs of love and loss and occasional-yet-scarce-joy), you're going to love most of what is on here. I'm sure "Babyfather" is going to bring tears to some of you parents out there. There's something here for every Soul music fan to appreciate and maybe even get oddly emotional over. Let's just hope Sade doesn't wait another ten years to put out the next album!

4.000 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. The Moon and the Sky (04:27) 4
2. Soldier of Love (05:58) 5
3. Morning Bird (03:55) 3
4. Babyfather (04:40) 4
5. Long Hard Road (03:02) 4
6. Be That Easy (03:40) 3
7. Bring Me Home (04:08) 4
8. In Another Time (05:05) 5
9. Skin (04:13) 5
10. The Safest Place (02:46) 3