Sade (Studio)

If you went by only what I tend to cover in these pages, you'd be forgiven for thinking all I listen to is 80s metal and electronica. And while I certainly enjoy both of those genres, I don't actually listen to all that much of either week-to-week. Oh sure I go through phases, and that's when I usually come up with a post about something. I guess that's the case here, as well; I've been in a Sade bubble for many months now and here we are.

Sooner or later, though, whatever genre you enjoy, you have to realize that "Smooth Operator" is the greatest song ever recorded. It's not even my personal favorite Sade song - that'd be "Paradise" probably - just yeah. A rite of passage, you might say.

I'm spellbound by these guys. I've liked them for many years but only truly began to appreciate their body of work over the past couple. Amazing stuff. The sonic landscape they create between the four of them (as augmented live and in the studio by four or five other guys) is timeless and remarkable. Sade is a great band for that worthiest of reasons - it feels great to listen to them. And extra points for creating it all from the ground up.

Sade, of course, refers to the collective band. Like Van Halen, except very much not like Van Halen.

Left to right: Paul Denman (bass), Helen Folasade Adu (vocals, lyrics), Andrew Hale (keyboards), Stu Matthewman (guitars, sax.) All songs written by the band.

Since everyone calls Helen Adu "Sade", though, I'll do the same here. Where necessary I'll clarify which Sade I'm talking about, the band or the singer. Otherwise, I'll try and keep things as breezy as possible. You can read more on the early days of the band here, and here's something more recent from Sade herself.

With much further Adu (sorry - truly, I'm sorry), here then are my Favorite Sade Records, Ranked Least to Most.


"While Lovers Rock is not any sort of departure from the quiet ballads that marked the group's first three albums, there is an element of freshness that aligns Sade with the current electronic music insurgence while still maintaining a distinctly analog outlook on love's foibles."

So said Wall of Sound at the time of the album's release. Although Lovers Rock (named for the unofficial genre, i.e. "rock for lovers") is my least favorite of the band's, it's still a pretty great record. I've never actually experienced weightlessness or floating in an isolation tank, but I'd be disappointed if either of those did not resemble a spin of Lovers Rock.  

And if you're someone who doesn't like the saxophone, this one's for you; Stu confines himself solely to guitar. And woodwinds. No sax to be found on this one, though. 

Produced like every other Sade record by Mike Pela. The two music videos produced for this album -

"By Your Side"
and "King of Sorrow" -

are typically lush and colorful efforts from Sophie Muller, who directed all but a handful of the band's videos and photographed several of the covers. But they're not my favorite tracks. All the songs are really sweet, even the allegedly political ones like "Immigrant" or "Slave Song." I guess they nod in a political direction, but Sade (Ms. Adu) is a hazy lyricist. I mean that in a good way. Her words are poetic and oblique, and she circles and evokes topics without literalizing them. Slate Magazine disagrees in its review of the album, regarding it as a "concept album (of) love and lovers." That's kind of a stretch for me - or rather, it might be somewhat accurate, but it's accurate about every Sade album, isn't it? (Maybe 80% of recorded music in general?)

Anyway, the only track here that I include among my favorite Sade songs is "Somebody Already Broke My Heart." It wasn't released as a single, but this live version from the "comeback" tour Lovers Live was. Love the guitar sound on that one, as well as the bass; Paul Denman has just the right touch.


Future POTUS Kanye West referred to Soldier of Love's release as the reason he still kept a blog, "to be a part of moments like this." He doesn't keep a blog anymore - maybe he'll resurrect it if Sade ever puts out another record. (Rumors abound for one in 2017. But we'll see.

Until that happens, this remains Sade's last excursion in the studio. It's a different-sounding record from the band, although it fits with their discography. It was met with scorn by some critics ("I'm glad she finally put some beats on her sang-froid," wrote a typically dismissive-of-the-other-band-members reviewer for MSN Music) but most (fans as well as critics) received it very positively. 

There were two videos produced for the album's two singles, the title track and "Babyfather," easily the best track on the album.

The same kind of sorrowful celebration of parental triumph and anguish explored in "King of Sorrow," but this one is more successful.
As for the "Soldier of Love" video, here's an amusing review.

"Judging by this video, it might not be presumptuous to say that Sade is a fan of grocery store romance novels. The whole video, with its melodramatic clouds of passion and wild, unbridled stallions, screams of dime novel artwork. The only thing it's missing is Fabio. But that doesn't detract from the beautiful atmosphere Sade has put together in this video."

True. That goes for the "Babyfather" video as well. And as the reviewer points out, Sade (Ms. Adu - though I suppose it could go for all of them, particularly as directed by Sophie Muller) is a gifted visual storyteller / performance artist as well as vocalist and musician. 
The title track (memorably remixed i.e. completely obscured by Ghostface Killah) reminds me a little of Lauren Hill's "You Just Lost One." Maybe I'm just thinking of the double-tracked vocals and some of the drum sequencing. Outside of that and a couple of other sequencing choices, though, it's another sparsely arranged and anti-gravity affair. "Be That Easy" has the pace and mood of later-era Bob Dylan.


While there are a few tracks on Love Deluxe ("Bullet Proof Soul," "Pearls," and "I Couldn't Love You More") that are not personal favorites, this album is just start-to-finish wonderful. Really, this is the CD that made me a Sade fan, although I didn't realize that for many years. It imprinted itself unobtrusively upon the backdrop of the 90s for me and when I was finally ready to appreciate it, it had the pleasant feel of familiar ground even though I hadn't been consciously aware of it. If that makes any sense.

This one opens with "No Ordinary Love," just a fantastic production, particularly that hun-hun-hun-hun-sounding electronic string section. Just a beautiful song from top to bottom.

The video casts her as some kind of mermaid making out with some totally unworthy dude. I like to imagine she's luring him to his doom. Similarly, I interpret the image on the right to be Sade swigging from a vodka bottle, asking herself "I gave up my fins for this?"

Mermaids must have been on her mind, as there's even a track by that name to close out the album. (It's good - maybe even a tad Jan Hammer-y.) Other videos from the album include "Feel No Pain", which has kind of an odd lyrical vibe to it. Is this some kind of "Don't let our men get hooked on painkillers and then they're long-term unemployed" message? I think it is. If so, a) Sade was way ahead of their time, b) the music, which is kinda contact-buzzy, is at odds with the message, and c) the video further confuses things.

Kind of a "Wicked Game" vibe to this one. Not sure who this guy is - can't find any proper credits. Anyway, what the hell any of this has to do with long-term unemployment brought on by drug use is beyond me. Not that it has to make sense.

The other videos were for "Kiss Of Life" and "Cherish the Day," both two of my favorite tracks from this album. The latter has that wonderfully haunting guitar motif - "riff" seems like the wrong word for it - and the former is uber-breezy. Twirling-rainsticks-at-the-mellowest-Natural-Wonders-at-the-Honolulu-airport breezy.

Neither charted very highly, but they really get in your head.

The tour for this album netted the DVD Sade Live. I've got that, as well as Lovers Live and a few bootlegs of their Soldier of Love tour. I'll put all that together for a Sade (Live) post, though, in the days to come.


"On Diamond Life, the group, abetted by talented studio musicians, eschews the synthesizers that dominate British pop to make music that resembles a cross between the rock-jazz of Steely Dan and the West Indian-flavored folk-pop of Joan Armatrading. Smoldering Brazilian rhythms blend with terse pop-soul melodies and jazzy harmonies to create a sultry, timeless nightclub ambiance.
- original New York Times review, Jan 1985

That Steely Dan line makes me wonder what that group's music would sound like if sung by Ms. Adu. Or if Donald Fagan sang all these songs on Diamond Life. I don't know if such an experiment would yield agreeable results, but it's interesting to consider.

The band's debut contains five top-drawer Sade tunes ("Smooth Operator," Your Love Is King," "Hang On To Your Love," "Cherry Pie," and "I Will Be Your Friend") and four lesser but still enchanting tracks. Of these last four, "Frankie's First Affair" and "When Am I Going To Make a Living?" (which brings to mind the Supremes a little bit, though I seem to be the only one who thinks so) are my faves.

Of the five top-drawer ones, we've already touched on "Smooth Operator." That was actually the third single from this album; the first was "Your Love Is King." A smoother slice of neo-soul, 80s or otherwise, is hard to find. There was a video for "Hang On To Your Love," as well, which has that great bridge "So if you want it to get stronger, you'd better not let go..."

Each of these videos are good examples of the 80s music video aesthetic, but perhaps "Hang On to Your Love" most of all.

"Cherry Pie" was neither a single nor a video, but it just might be the sweetest track on Diamond Life. Acoustic perfection. Particularly that funky little guitar flourish and that post-chorus stuff. And pre-chorus stuff.  It doesn't get better than this. I'd have started this post off with "Sooner or later it's 'Cherry Pie' you yadda-yadda" had I not worried you'd have thought I meant the Warrant song. 

(Who would have thought there could be two acoustically-perfect-if-aesthetically-night-and-day songs entitled "Cherry Pie!" Truly we are an ungrateful species.)


I've mentioned my love of "Paradise," but this album has three of my other favorites, as well: "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (what a fun bass line; it's like Seinfeld's smoky-jazz-cousin), "Keep Looking" (not to overuse the term, but again, perfection), and "Siempre Hay Esperanza." 

That last one may remind those of a certain age of neon montages with steam rising from grates cross-cut with slow-motion lingerie tumblings on Cinemax or something, which, while understandable, shouldn't prevent anyone from floating along with it. Friend-of-the-Omnibus Bryant Burnette once referred to all sax solos in the 80s as being performed by the "I Still Believe" guy from The Lost Boys. He's onto something there, and the exception that proves that rule is Stu Matthewman on tracks like this.
Although, it's still pretty fun to picture the Lost Boys dude (r) wailing away on this one regardless. I'm a sucker for the easy joke.
"Siempre" is a great choice to end the album as well. Sade does well in this regard overalll. I like a band that appreciates the art of song order.

The title track is pretty damn stratospheric, as well. "Clean Heart," all of them - good lord, such an embarrassment of riches here. "Turn My Back on You," especially. Such an underrated tune.


Here we are at the top of the pops. Only one track ("You're Not the Man") fails to enchant me here, and I'm sure that one's just as beautiful as the rest of them, it just doesn't speak to me as much.

Let's take this track by track. Album opener (and second single) "Is It a Crime" sounds like a big band orchestra, but amazingly all of that sound comes from just four people. Well, plus four or five other guys for horns and percussion. Still, though, I've come to the conclusion that the four core members need to be contextualized properly among the greatest quartets of the 80s on down to now.

The video's one of those mini-movie deals; better just to crank the song.

From there we go to one of Sade's other signature tunes, "The Sweetest Taboo." Which, for God's sake, if you don't love this song, what the hell is wrong with you for real. They should use this song to test for autism or something. You've heard it a million times but really listen to how this bass part comes into things here. That's just one of them; here's another

The song's just so pleasing to the mind, soul, and blood pressure.

"War of the Hearts" - very theatrical, another one whose effect on the brain and nervous system should be classified as medicinal. And again, good song-order going on here; this is a perfect third song for this album.

"Jezebel" - a big one for other Sade fans. Obviously a beautiful tune and all, just not a personal fave. I'd be foolish to rate it anything but top notch of course.

"Mr. Wrong" - more of a vignette, but it's short, and the musical envelope is nice.

"Punch Drunk" - everything I wrote about the neon-streetwalking-big-hair-steam-rising-from-gutters-montage for "Siempe Hay Esperanza" applies here, but it's an appreciated instrumental break. All about the mood with these guys, and this sets up the next one nicely.

"Never As Good As the First Time" - one everyone knows, but not necessarily by name. What a great track.

Again with the horses, though. FF's sake, Sade.

"Fear" - I love this one even though I'm not sure I quite get it. But I don't need to get it. Has an almost Pink Floyd-ian quality in spots.

"Tar Baby" - Interesting lyrics, not quite what one might think with that title. Beautifully sung, as always, and another Matthewman/ Adu soundscape masterpiece.

And as always, a well-chosen album closer, "Maureen." Such an 80s groove going on here! I guess I've written variations of that a few times in these reviews. Most of the tunes transition the decades quite well. This one, as well, but yeah, just a bit of an 80s groove and nothing wrong with that.

I'll be back with a post about their live DVDs. Before I go, though, during the hiatus between Love Deluxe and Lovers Rock, Stu, Andrew, and Paul released a few albums under the name Sweetback. Some of their songs ("Gaze") sound very Sade-esque while others ("Arabesque") are more suitable for Laura Palmer, perhaps, to sway to in front of a strobe light. Still others are a tad too much on the radio pop side of things for me, but if you enjoy Sade, you'll certainly enjoy the two Sweetback CDs as well.

Long live Sade. Accept no substitutes.


  1. Hmm. My options as I see them are twofold:

    (1) Read through this and leave a series of cursory comments or

    (2) wait a while and use this post an excuse to listen to all of Sade's music I can find, then come back and leave a series of less-cursory comments.

    I think I'll go for option #2! Time is short for the next week or two, though, so progress may be slow. But I think it'll be worth it; I count "The Sweetest Taboo" among the very finest songs of the eighties, so there's no way this won't be worth my time.

    1. Three cheers for option #2! We'll see you after that time. (Your blood pressure will thank you for the experience, trust me.)

  2. "Diamond Life" --

    (1) Smooth Operator: Damn, what a song! Not like it was a surprise or anything; I've loved this song since whenever I first heard it. I never knew she was saying "diamond life" at the beginning of the song, but knowing the title of the album, it makes sense. I always connected this song to James Bond for some reason. I wonder if anyone has cut together a fan video of Bond clips set to this song. Hmm... lemme check... yep, but it's just a series of photos. Ground remains to be broken! Not sure I can agree that this is the greatest song ever recorded -- I'd want to hold out a spot for "Mercy Mercy Me" -- but I can't disagree with it, either. It really might be the greatest career-leadoff single ever. Great video, too; as you say, very eighties, but that's okay by me.

    (2) Your Love Is King: I'd forgotten this song, somehow. Fuck, man -- another great one. "I'm coming -- you're making me dance inside." Good lord, it doesn't get much hotter than that. Somebody once told me that saxophone in pop songs ought to be illegal. Opinions like that ought to be illegal, says I.

    (3) Hang on to Your Love: Yep, I remember this one, too. Three classics in a row so far. And the more I listen to it, the more amazed I am that nobody hired her to do a Bond song in the eighties. I can practically hear her doing a version of "The Living Daylights." I have to say, this band that's backing her is aces, too. Especially whoever is on bass.

    (4) Frankie's First Affair: This one was new to me. Great vocals on this one. Not that there weren't on the first three songs, of course; there are. She lets loose a bit more here, though, and her voice is 100% suited to it.

    (5) When Am I Going to Make a Living: I know we've had a version of this conversation before, but it's worth repeating -- why would I give half a turd for modern music when the as-yet-unexplored past yields up treasures like this?

    (6) Cherry Pie: You beat me to the obligatory Warrant joke, unsurprisingly. I suspect none of those cock-rockers would know what to do with Sade. I love the Tawny Kitaens of the world, too, but someone like Sade is on another plane of existence. Anyways, as for this song, it's another winner. Say, is this going to be one of those deals where I love every single song on the album and find myself placing a whole discography onto my Amazon shopping cart? Too soon after Christmas to buy anything, but yeah, I can imagine that happening. This song arguably goes on too long, but it's fine by me.

    (7) Sally: My least favorite so far, but it's not bad. I can imagine it growing on me. There's also an instinct telling me that it kills live.

    (8) I Will Be Your Friend: These songs all sound the same without sounding anything alike. I like this song a lot.

    (9) Why Can't We Live Together?: I mean, there is NO reason. We can work that out. Can I bring all my Stephen King books? This track didn't blow me away, but it's fine.

    Overall -- GREAT album.

    1. "Mercy Mercy Me" is definitely in the mix, there, for sure.

      Glad you enjoyed DIAMOND LIFE - great stuff, eh? I agree on the other guys in the band, and on the curious lack of Sade in the Bondverse. (It's not too late, Bond-people!)

  3. Well, I listened to "Promise" today, and typed up a bunch of comments, and then hit "sign out" instead of "publish." So goes the live-fast-die-hard existence of a blog commenter, I guess.

    I'm tenacious, though, so here come a fresh round of inadequate thoughts:

    (1) Is It a Crime: I'd heard this one before, but had forgotten it. Great flippin' song.

    (2) The Sweetest Taboo: This song is close to perfection. It's been a personal favorite for so long that I'm a little surprised it took me this long to decide to get more familiar with Sade's work. I agree that this song could be used as a litmus test of some sort. Want to know if somebody's opinion on music can be trusted? Ask 'em if they like "The Sweetest Taboo." Answering yes merely grants them an extension, but answering "no" automatically puts them on the do-not-trust list.

    (3) War of the Heart: I didn't spark to this one at first, but halfway or so through, I realized it had me under its spell. Sade may be an enchantress of some sort. Have we considered that possibility? What am I asking; of course we have!

    (4) You're Not the Man: I like this just fine, but I'd say it's probably the weakest song on the album.

    (5) Jezebel: Another one I'd heard somewhere at some point. And another one that probably works even better live. Good stuff.

    (6) Mr. Wrong: That layered a-capella intro is killer. I like your description of this song as a vignette.

    (7) Punch Drunk: Well, here's proof that I'd happily listen to this band on its own.

    (8) Never As Good As the First Time: Yet another one I'd forgotten I knew. When this is only the third or fourth best song on your album, you've made a great album.

    (9) Fear: You mention Pink Floyd, and I can hear that. But I also had Queensryche come to mind. Maybe I'm just flashing back to that conversation we had about them recently, but then again, maybe not; there's some similarity in the sound that I can't put an explanation to.

    (10) Tar Baby: The band really does sound great on this one.

    (11) Maureen: I like this one a lot. As you say, great closer. Feels like a first-song-of-the-encore track to me, which is a fine thing to be.

    Overall -- another great album. Pressed, I think I'd say I preferred "Diamond Life," but, honestly, flip a coin.

    Two albums into this and I suspect you've helped create a Sade fan for life.

    1. "Two albums into this and I suspect you've helped create a Sade fan for life."

      I am just a signpost! But happy to hear it.

      "Promise" is a great album to listen to start to finish. All in one breath, as it were.

      When I was sorting these out and did my whole spreadsheet-madness, the points-totals between Sade's first 3-4 albums were only fractionally off. They're all basically the band's best album. Their last two aren't bad either but I just like them a little less.

  4. "Stronger Than Pride" --

    (1) Love Is Stronger Than Pride: I've heard this one before. I remember not liking it all that much, which proves that past Bryant can't necessarily be trusted. This song is terrific!

    (2) Paradise: An all-time classic, clearly. If you are the person who comes up with that bass line, do you sit back and just revel in your own glory for a while afterward? I think you probably have earned the right to do so.

    (3) Nothing Can Come Between Us: That bit about this being a smoky-jazz "Seinfeld" cracked me up. Not inappropriate, though. I'm a fan of this song, but if I were in a mood, I might complain that the male vocals that are popping up here and there on the album are unnecessary and unwanted. Not bad, but I just don't need to hear somebody else singing over the top of Sade. Still, great song.

    (4) Haunt Me: I knew I'd be a big fan of this one literally half a second into it. I did not end up being wrong. The sax bit toward the end of this one is especially good.

    (5) Turn My Back On You: Boy, the bass player is on fire on this album. If they gave out a bass-of-the-year award and this guy didn't win it this year, I'm not sure how.

    (6) Keep Looking: Another winner. I love the vocals on the chorus.

    (7) Clean Heart: Maybe my least-favorite on the album, but that's no slight. Good stuff.

    (8) Give It Up: Bongos for the win! Until the bass shows up, at which point it's bass for the win, as per usual. I like this song a lot.

    (9) I Never Thought I'd See the Day: A slow-burn, but another winner, in my opinion.

    (10) Siempre Hay Esperanza: I bet a few babies have been made during this song. Kind of bold to close with an instrumental; especially true in retrospect, since it was four years until the next album.

    Overall -- a very strong album.

    1. Doh - missed this one! Yeah, super strong album here, for sure.

      I love the song order on this one. If you look at "Siempre Hay Esperanza" to be the destination and the title track as the mission launch, "Nothing Can Come Between Us" and "Turn My Back On You" are the strategic planetary flybys to boost speed / course correct on getting there.

      It's science! SADE IS SCIENCE.

  5. "Love Deluxe" --

    (1) No Ordinary Love: Sexiest melancholy song ever recorded? Might get my vote. "It imprinted itself unobtrusively upon the backdrop of the 90s for me and when I was finally ready to appreciate it, it had the pleasant feel of familiar ground even though I hadn't been consciously aware of it. If that makes any sense." Uh, yep; it's happening to me as I go through these albums.

    (2) Feel No Pain: God damn, I love this song! I'd say there's virtually no chance some hip-hopper hasn't sampled it at some point, but if so, they made no improvements, I'd bet on that.

    (3) I Couldn't Love You More: I especially like the vocals on this one. Not sure why; she's not doing anything extra-special. Just how it's striking me, I guess. But yeah, I'm with you otherwise; this one doesn't float to the top. Not bad, though.

    (4) Like a Tattoo: More great vocals here, and I like the echoey sound of them. Great production. But kind of middling overall as a song.

    (5) Kiss of Life: "Uber-breezy" is a good way to describe this. Intensely-laid-back; it's an interesting vibe. This is another song I'd forgotten all about. And it's a terrific one, to be sure.

    (6) Cherish the Day: This is my favorite one from this album. "If you were mine, I wouldn't want to go to Heaven." Holy shit! If somebody as hot as Sade ever said that to me, I'd blink twice and then merely puff right out of existence.

    (7) Pearls: She doesn't let her voice loose all that often, but it's really powerful when she does. I think this one actually IS one of my personal favorites, at least from this album. Deeply good.

    (8) Bullet Proof Soul: Ought to have been the name of a James Brown album. Impeccable production here, and has the sax been missing for most of the album or am I just now noticing it? Either way, I'm glad to hear it. "I intend to live like a lion." Got a little bit of a chill from that one; in the good way.

    (9) Mermaid: Another album-closing instrumental? Fine by me! How did her backing band not develop a career scoring movies?

    Overall -- man, I really loved this one. My favorite album so far of theirs, I think.

    1. I've got a few thoughts on the videos, too.

      I hate to be a broken record, but good lord ... Sade is so beautiful in the "No Ordinary Love" video that I kind of have a difficult time looking at her. I keep feeling the need to avert my eyes. I pity the poor casting director who was in charge of finding men worthy of being in these videos with her. They failed with this one, for sure.

      "Feel No Pain" -- I do not feel as if I had been adequately prepared for that video. I'll be in my bunk. The casting director did a better job on this one; this dude is at least NOT woefully inadequate. The video does indeed seem incongruous with the lyrics, but I get kind of a "we've got to fuck our way out of these troubles" vibe from the whole thing, which strikes me as wholly admirable.

      "Kiss of Life" -- Was this the moment when the eighties truly ended? Did culture simply sigh, say to itself, "no topping to this," and turn to grunge? And again, I feel as if I was inadequately prepared for this video's contents.

      "Cherish the Day" -- Once I regained consciousness, I really enjoyed this one.

    2. If you don't swoon to Ms. Adu, or respond on a visceral level to the music of Sade in general, you may, in fact, be dead.

      It's a fantastic album, a virtual opium den of the mind and senses. Happy to hear you agree!

  6. I listened to the first Sweetback album today. Not quite good enough to make me want to go through it track by track here, and nothing on it struck me as being essential; but yeah, definitely good. It's interesting to hear both how much of Sade's sound is her band and how much her absence is felt. Neither of those things is a surprise; it's just interesting to actually HEAR it.

    I also listened to Sade's cover version of "Please Send Me Someone to Love" from her first greatest hits compilation. Not bad; but this one is also nothing special, in my opinion.

    1. I let that Sweetback one play a few times when I checked it out. I agree - it's historically interesting as an adjunct to Sade, and it's agreeable enough without being essential. I haven't heard the second one they did. Yet.

  7. "Lovers Rock" --

    (1) By Your Side: "Her words are poetic and oblique, and she circles and evokes topics without literalizing them." I'd say that's about right, based on my limited observations. I'm terrible at paying attention to lyrics, though; I still find myself noticing things they're saying in songs I've heard a gajillion times. I like this song a lot, though.

    (2) Flow: Something about the production on this album so far does indeed sound different to me, but not in an inconsistent way. I dig this song; quite a bit, actually. I'd only skimmed this post until now, by the way, and so missed out on the fact that the lady I'd been thinking of as "Sade" as actually named Helen. Well, the name fits her; I'm sort of aurally headed to Troy right this very moment!

    (3) King of Sorrow: Not "queen"? Hmm. Okay. Not a bad song, but nothing special.

    (4) Somebody Already Broke My Heart: Great song for sure; the vocals are perfection. More so than usual, I mean.

    (5) All About Our Love: I was totally into this, and then it just kind of ended. Another of those that's more of a sketch than a song. Great sketch, though.

    (6) Slave Song: Most bands have this as a title, I'd be worried. Not so much with Sade. Good stuff; interesting sound design on the harmonizing vocals.

    (7) The Sweetest Gift: I didn't get much out of this one. Nice gentle guitar work, nice gentle vocals; but it's really just another sketch.

    (8) Every Word: The sampled vocals at the beginning made me fear I'd dislike this one, but I found myself getting into it pretty fast. And then it kind of went nowhere. But going nowhere with Sade is the equivalent of going somewhere with most other bands, so I don't begrudge the time.

    (9) Immigrant: That critic who called this a concept album -- I guarantee you that he got that purely from the album having tracks titled "Slave" and "Immigrant." And I'll grant you that the album may have a theme. But a concept? No. "The Wall" is a concept album; this is an album. This is my least-favorite song on it, too.

    (10) Lovers Rock: I don't know that this is a great song, but it's definitely a great-sounding production, which is sometimes good enough.

    (11) It's Only Love That Gets You Through: Good album-closer, but another one that kind of rolls right off of me.

    Overall -- easily my least-favorite Sade album so far. But a good album nevertheless.

    1. (2) I guess everyone calls her Sade, so it's all good.

      (9) Stands to reason.

  8. "Soldier of Love" --

    (1) The Moon and the Sky: Nothing special, maybe, but definitely good. Seemingly-effortless type of good.

    (2) Soldier of Love: Not a fan. I see what they were going for, but it didn't work on me. An immediate contender for least-favorite-Sade song.

    (3) Morning Bird: This album needed to win me back a bit after that last song, and this one more or less did the trick. Reminds me a bit of "Brand New Shoes." Not AS good as that one, maybe, but solid.

    (4) Babyfather: THIS one, I loved. Great video, too; one of their best, I'd say.

    (5) Long Hard Road: Pretty, but it doesn't really go anywhere.

    (6) Be That Easy: I'm a sucker for a song in waltz-time, so this one worked on me pretty well. I can totally hear that Dylan vibe you mention.

    (7) Bring Me Home: I'm not persuaded by some of the production here, but I like the guitar, and the vocals. Good song.

    (8) In Another Time: Nice, hypnotic stuff.

    (9) Skin: Nice, hypnotic stuff. Hey, did I just say that...?

    (10) The Safest Place: Ambling, aimless, pretty.

    Overall -- not great. I wouldn't say I disliked it, not by any means; but it's a step down even from the last album, in my opinion.

    Still, if this is the worst album a band ever makes, then that must be one hell of a band.

    1. Congratulations on making your way through Sade's catalog! I think we're agreed on the general trajectory of things for each album and for the discography overall.

      There's rumors of something new in the pipeline. I think the chances of getting another "Paradise" or "Kiss of Life" are not good, but hopefully there'll be some interesting new music from the band.

      Happy this post led you to these albums. I'll miss having you pop over here and detail the journey!