A Disappointing Return for Sade
Not to be taken lightly, Sade, the lady and band, has only released 6 albums of original music but stand as one of the most successful musical outlets of the last 25 years. Staying power is rare but Sade certainly has it and her voice, even on this album, is the stuff of angels. Still haunting, peaceful and distinctive, it's a quality that's truly rare in music and it's as captivating as the sirens song.
The album kicks off with “The Moon and the Sky” which, without comparisons to the past, sounds like a garden-variety album track from a generic Smooth Jazz vocalist but it’s still drop-dead boring and gloomy at that.
The first single and title track, which I consider the most exasperating radio song since Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland tortured us with her unbearable twang on ‘All I Want to Do,’ is clunky in technical effects and marching drum beats. The extra production just seems unnecessary and sounds like Charlie Brown’s parents falling down a set of stairs. It simply sounds like a dire demo but because of the publics thirst for a comeback it did extremely well on peripheral charts but only peaked in the Top 50 on Billboards top 100. The song seriously makes me ill. To her defence it, at least, seems like an attempt to throw new ingredients in the soup, unfortunately the results were hokey.
'Morning Bird’ is another vacuous hole of nothingness that could serve as a soundtrack for anything depressing. I found myself asking, “Really, this is all you could come up with after 10 years of being away?” The song is as slow and dreary as it is derivative. A bad imitation of songs before and simply not interesting.
Another one of the singles ‘BabyFather’ does show tons of promise but, like many of the tunes on the disc, sounds unfinished.
‘Long Hard Road,’ at least, displays some beauty. It’s a slow, lightly produced, ditty with a message of eventual optimism. Maybe she/they got up on the right side of the bed that day.
Another bright spot on the project is ‘Be That Easy’ that mixes traditional country music feel and twang with late night Jazz effects and it works perfectly. Well worth many spins but still isn’t strong enough to save this album.
Even though we play a few tracks off ‘Soldier of Love’ on our station Smooth Jazz Now.com it’s still the worst vocal album from an “A” list singer that I’ve listened to in years. The last one, ‘Lovers Rock’ (from 2000) would never make my Top 100 list but I got those songs and understood why her/their audience appreciated that comeback (that one came after an absence of 8 years). ‘Soldier of Love’ sounds like an outtakes project and its title song, an experiment in production gone badly.
Unfortunately, enough fans rewarded their lackluster effort by buying this album but I have to admit I'm still interested on what will come next. Let’s catch up in ten years, maybe the singer and band will return with new inspiration and ideas. They are certainly capable of doing so. – by John Beaudin