Listen: Sade makes a militant return on 'Soldier of Love'
Singer appears after a decade-long absence. Did you miss her?
If you’re under 30, unless your parents have introduced you to Sade, it’s probably impossible to understand how adored she was when her records first came out in the 1980s. In fact, you may have never heard her name.
Here was the stunning, exotic British/Nigerian beauty , who sang with total ennui, in a somewhat flat monotone that nonetheless stirred emotions within the listener even if Sade remained impassive. Songs like “Your Love is King,” “Smooth Operator,” and “No Ordinary Love” were mainstays on MTV. Indeed, with her sleek, gorgeous presence and stylized videos, she and a then-nascent MTV were made for each other.
It’s been more than 20 years since Sade has a real radio hit and around 10 years since her last album, but she’s back now, still on her original label (Epic) with a new single from her forthcoming February album. (Editor's Note: As one of our readers pointed out below, it has actually been 17 years since her last radio hit, "No Ordinary Love." )
And it’s amazing how little has changed. Not that we expected Sade to suddenly be a belter, but “Soldier of Love” sounds like it could have come off of “Diamond Life” or any of her other huge sellers.Hear it here.
“I’ve lost the use of my heart, but I’m still alive,” Sade sings as the song open as its military-precision drums propel the story. Her voice is instantly identifiable, but is deeper, and not quite as smooth. It’s grown a little rougher around the edges over time. However, that weatherbeaten tone certainly fits such lyrics as “I’ve been torn up inside, I’ve been left behind” and “It’s too late for love to come to turn it all around.”
It is too late for Sade? Perhaps. We doubt even adult-leaning radio would play her at this point. This is a song that will live or die by press and television placements. It has the right tone to be used in a commercial for an FX TV show or something like that. Plus, there are some righteous dance remixes to be made of this track.