After nearly a decade without an album or tour, Sade has marched back into pop music with Soldier of Love.
Starting with “The Moon and the Sky,” guitarist/saxophonist Stuart Matthewman plays a mournful yet uplifting acoustic guitar lick as singer Sade Adu laments, “You lay me down and left me for dead/a long, long time ago/You left me there dying/But I’ll never let you go.”
Sade sings of remorse but not defeat.
One of the most intriguing tracks on the album is “Babyfather.” Tackling a reggae sound, Sade sings about the stress of a father leaving their child.
Proving that children will be resilient and vulnerable as their father figure is gone, Sade sings gently to soothe the stress of this void.
The song is also a family affair, as Sade’s daughter and Matthewman’s son sing the repeated line “Your daddy love come with a lifetime guarantee.”
The strongest track on the album is the first single and title track “Soldier of Love.”
Over a sparse snare drum beat with minimal accompaniment by keyboard and guitar, Sade is the “soldier,” proclaiming, “I’m in the front line of this battle of mine/But I’m still alive.”
Employing extensive distorted electric guitar for the first time in their history, Matthewman plays piercing guitar licks more reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine than by the band that made “Smooth Operator.”
Sonic experimentation aside, Sade stuck with their established “sound” without staying too much in their comfort zone.
“In Another Time” features Matthewman switching back to saxophone from the guitar, breathing sax licks to assuage the love-lorn.
Simultaneously moving forward with new sounds and keeping with their traditional tales of love and loss, Sade’s first album since 2000’s “Lover’s Rock” has been well w