>It still amazes me. Sade can release a new album once every 10 years and still be massively successful like she never left. Her (or I should say Their… Sade is a group with lead vocalist Sade Adu) newest album “Soldier of Love” seems to be no exception. Released almost exactly 10 years since her last “Lovers Rock”, it seemed as soon as it was announced that the album was being released, it shot to the top of several Pre-Order lists. In fact, based on Pre-orders alone the album stayed in the Top 10 iTunes Album charts for over a month.
Clearly the group has a very well-established and well-respected name in the industry, but on top of that they released a Monster of a first single in the albums title track. The song is very minimalist but also in a lot of ways very contemporary and has lyrics everyone can relate to. Unfortunately nothing on the album really matches the intensity or even the change in style that song has, but it’s still a solid Sade album. I think when this group releases an album, it’s not so much about what new style or new direction they are taking that gets fans excited, it’s really just the fact that they are back. And they are definitely back to form, with a very smooth R&B leaning collection of songs. And though not many of the songs can match the greatness of the title track, it’s not to say that the album is all filler. There are some tremendous stand outs on the album, starting with the very first track “The Moon and the Sky” continuing with excellent slow-burners “Morning Bird” and “Long Hard Road”.Personally, there are a few miss-steps. I feel like the reggae-tinged “Babyfather”, while very catchy, comes off as very contrived and a little forced. Same with the Country leaning “Be That Easy” and “Bring Me Home” which seems to get really bogged down in trying to be too contemporary and not even focusing on a memorable hook.
The last few songs more than save the album from those few bad apples, “In Another Time” triumphs with great lyrics, great production and a pretty amazing and restrained vocal from Adu. “Skin” plays a little more contemporary, but it breezes through to the end not sounding forced at all, and the only complaint I have about the albums closer “The Safest Place” is that it’s way too short. I actually prefer this album off the top over 2000’s “Lovers Rock” as there are more songs that instantly stand out. I think the world will be enjoying this album until 2020, when the groups next album may or not appear.
By the Way, the video to “Soldier of Love” is AWESOME.