Music Review: Sade's "Soldier of Love"

2/10/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

“Soldier of Love,” the first album from British soul and jazz band Sade in 10 years, following their multiplatinum “Lover’s Rock,” resembles a book of poems, the songs all following a rhythmic and thematic route of soldiering through heartache to find meaning and hope. With their latest album, Sade provides some new and fresh sounds that showcase the entire band, while maintaining their signature sound, which most people identify with--the smooth vocals of lead singer, Sade Adu.

“Soldier of Love” also is the name of the album’s first single and its strongest track. “Soldier of Love” is a versatile exhibit of ominous percussion, lush and ranging vocals, as well as declarative lyrics. It appears second on the tracklist, but should be first, because it is a busting call to get on board. As it sets itself apart from the other songs, with its beat-driven and electrifying sound, it works as a prelude, an introduction, an invitation: “I'm at the borderline of my faith/I'm at the hinterland of my devotion/
In the frontline of this battle of mine/But I'm still alive.”

The rest of the album, starting with “The Moon and the Sky,” reestablishes the Sade we all are familiar with and it doesn’t even feel like it has been a decade since we’ve heard that warm, reassuring voice. The song is a cry of hurt and confusion, the burdens of lost and wasted promises gracefully cradled by a voice that sounds as if it is coming from a dream sequence--haunting and deliberate, but calm.

The path soon leads to resilience, which is demonstrated through several of the songs. “Long Hard Road” is a comfort song, a lullaby--short, sweet and heartening: “Here I could stay, but I’ll keep moving on.” “Bring Me Home” is the decline of despair, the point where the first glimpses of hope reappear, recalling the hardships, but finally open. “In Another Time” is the song that reaches out and offers refuge to those suffering the same fate of heartache as they take their first deep breaths and wipe away their last tears. And “Skin” is the last layer before the rebirth: “Now as I begin to wash you off my skin/ I wanna peel you away.”

The last song, “The Safest Place,” is the destination people fight to get to, finding faith, a safe haven, another beginning and assurance. The assurances in “Soldier of Love” are clear. Sade Adu, Matthew Man, Andrew Hale and Paul S. Denman are dedicated to their genre and to a distinctive sound of several classic elements, whichever decade it may be.

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