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started off as a music blog hence the name. but, it is now my any and everything blog.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sade - Soldier Of Love

I've been listening to Sade on and off since I was little. Growing up in Nigeria, she was a part of my childhood. I was told about her Nigerian heritage, we even had a hairstyle named after her. The hair was parted from ear to ear, the front part was plaited into really tiny cornrows and the back was braided in single plaits. So, you end up with that smooth scraped back ponytail look that Sade often wears.

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Smooth Operator was on heavy rotation, I was in my pre-teens back then and the only words to the song I really knew was; "No need to ask he is a smooth operator". Sade remained a part of my life for years to come. I never actively sought out her songs or albums, but she is one of those people I look at nostalgically. Her music takes me back to my childhood in Nigeria, lazy days when I just lay back and watch her videos or listen to her mellow sound come from the radio and wash over me.

In order to write this review, I looked back at previous works by Sade. One of the things many people (including me) seem to have discovered recently is the Sade is the name of the band. I always thought Sade was the person. I had no idea she occasionally sang about otherness and race like in the case of 'Tar Baby' (Album - Promise) and 'Immigrant' (Album - Lovers Rock). I had always known her for her love songs.

Despite listening to Sade for years, 'Soldier of Love' is the first album of theirs I've ever owned. I have a 'Best of...' album because it contains all the songs I knew growing up, but I've never made the effort to buy a complete album.

My first impression of 'Soldier Of Love' is that it's full of heartbreak. The first track 'The Moon and The Sky' sounds like a person living a relationship with as much dignity as she/he can muster. ‘The Moon and The Sky' is followed by 'Soldier of Love' which carries on that heartbreak theme, but it is about carrying on rather than being beaten, broken and depressed by the end of the previous relationship. So far so good, till you get to 'Babyfather' and it gets a bit dicey for me. It’s not a totally awful song; it just doesn't fit in with the rest of the album. And there is a Caribbean/Reggae twist to it that one doesn't readily associate with Sade. I can't deny that the line 'your daddy love come with a lifetime guarantee' is catchy and memorable, but other than that this song could have been shelved and put on a different album.

I first listened to this album walking to the bus stop after work. It was 12:30 am, I was tired and hating my job and wishing things had turned out the way I planned. 'Long Hard Road' came on and made me even more depressed, despite all that it's my favourite song on the album.

It is a short song, but it goes straight to the heart of the matter and packs a mean punch. There are two parts that stuck with me the most, 'When in this life, in this life, when I can only turn my chin, I know it's going to be alright', and 'When this big old town is closing in and I've lost again. Here I could stay, but I keep moving on'. I live London and my walk home takes me through Trafalgar square and Piccadilly Circus, so the line about the 'big old town' could not be any more perfect or apt.

I think Soldier of Love is a very sophisticated and classy album, but it takes a couple of listens to really get it. I listened to it all week, but it wasn't till this morning that it all made sense to me. It is different from the baby making albums that the band is known for. I know there are people that find their music too boring or mellow, but I tend to think of music in terms of time, mood and place. When I'm getting ready for a night out I would rather have some Gym Class heroes or even Lady Gaga. Sade's music (and specifically this album) is reserved for a lazy weekend or after a break up. You listen to it in a quiet house, with a cup of tea in hand and reflect on the past, love lost and hope regained.

mypspace: www.myspace.com/sade