Archive for the ‘Sade The Ultimate Collection’ Category

Nothing is stronger than Sade!!

Thursday, February 12th, 2015


Sade, The Ultimate Collection

There’s nothing like getting a double-dose of Sade, two CDs of magic, songs plucked from her six studio releases so far (three from “Diamond Life”, four from “Promise”, three from “Stronger Than Pride”, six from  “Lovers Deluxe” – nearly the whole album, which only had nine songs anyway – four from “Lovers Rock”, and three from her latest, “Soldier Of Love), which it follows along in chronological order, along with a three new tunes – the standout among these, or course, is “Still In Love With You”, the Thin Lizzy masterpiece – and two remixes, one with a completely unnecessary Jay-Z rap, and another one remixed by the Neptunes.

It’s a smooth flow of jazzy soul from “Your Love Is King” to “Smooth Operator” to “Hang On To Your Love” to “The Sweetest Taboo”, to the bluesy darkness, sweet horns, and stirring piano of “Is It A Crime”, and the good feelings and deep thrum of “Never As Good As The First Time”. “Jezebel” is smoky and cool, but it lightens up with “Love Is Stronger Than Pride”, the airy opener to the Stronger Than Pride release (my first of Sade’s, incidentally). “Paradise” funks the air up a bit, and “Nothing Can Come Between Us” adds a male voice into the mix. Next up is Sade’s real masterpiece, “No Ordinary Love”, a song so awesome that the Deftones covered it. That bass line is hot… and so is everything else about this song!! “Kiss Of Life” and “Feel No Pain” are more chilled out and breeze along, while “Bullet Proof Soul” rounds out the first disc with more silky, somber moods and lots of sax!

“Cherish The Day”, opening disc two, is moody and sweet, while “Pearls” is a gloomy tune about a woman in Somalia living a hard life – voice, keyboard, violin. Sweet. “By Your Side” is somber and poppy. “Immigrant” hums and thrums with some programmed beat and that gorgeous voice, simple, with cool bass thrums. “Flow” is a little thing with a programmed beat, also very somber, mildly clubby but also kind of forgettable. “King Of Sorrow” has some nice guitar sounds, also very sad-sounding. But Sade’s howling voice is in top form here – wow! “The Sweetest Gift” is a very short song, you hardly notice it because it’s so mellow, and then it’s over, a guitar companion to “King Of Sorrow”, just voice and guitar. Wow! “Soldier Of Love” is the title track of Sade’s latest album, and it’s pretty nutty – by Sade standards, with a large pulsing beat, and near-talking throughout. Over-production? Sorta. But it’s still a cool, moody song. “The Moon And The Sky” is a spooky song on a repeating riff, with some odd electronics. “Babyfather” is a pretty conventional Sade song, and could easily have appeared on an earlier album, with its cheerful chorus and good mood. “Still In Love With You” is a great version of the Thin Lizzy song, and only the second cover that Sade has ever done (after Timmy Thomas’ “Why Can’t We Live Together”). A bit of electronic beat is kind of icky, but the guitar is great, and the production builds up. Sade’s voice is fantastic here! “Love Is Found” is full of quivering strings, then building up to a dramatic, metallic climax a la “Soldier Of Love”, but quite a bit more successful, I’d say. Weird hip hop elements and sharp guitars at play here. Wow!! “I Would Never Have Guessed” is much simpler fare, a beautiful (and short) piano ballad, full of wonderful breathing and sighs… wow… this is Sade!! “The Moon And The Sky [Remix]” does not build on the original, just makes it noisier and fairly obnoxious (not normally a word used to describe Sade’s music, surely, but there’s always room for something new…). The unnecessary rap bit by that guy is also quite awful! “By Your Side [Neptunes Remix]” is sweet and pretty and nice… and only a wee bit obnoxious. Not sure what the Neptunes add, although I’m sure they’re nice guys…

The third disc is a collection of Sade videos, lasting one hour and ten minutes. “Hang On To Your Love” is set in a casino with silly dancers, the band plays fake instruments, there are frozen gamblers, ballet dancing with baby, Sade is gorgeous; ”The Sweetest Taboo” has Sade jamming with her band in a loft while it rains outside, mixed with pictures of her Spanish husband of the time, cute hats on the boys, spaghetti western setting, Sade sashays stiffly around the hall, “Temor”; “Is It A Crime” seemingly continues where “the Sweetest Taboo” left off, the band jams around a bit, adds London street scenes,  there’s a regretful man and a lovers spat; “Never As Good As The First Time” has Sade riding horses on the beach, black and white images, toreador kids, cowboys; “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” shows our lady wandering the beach in a red dress, swelling and pulsating waves in the near distance – a trick of focus, dress over one shoulder, wandering with band, rolling in the sand, freckly and lithe; “Paradise” has Sade in a straw hat grooving with kids at a small carnival, mingling with boxers and Latin dancers, spaghetti western stuff; “Turn My Back On You” is experimental, with Las Vegas Strip lights a la James Bond, the band as Rat Packers, goofing around; “Nothing Can Come Between Us” is a live stage video thing, with Sade looking great in a white lace dress, sporting a big crucifix necklace, the band looking cool in their black suits; “No  Ordinary Love” is cool with Sade as a mermaid, flirting with a drowning man, necking underwater – OUCH!! Then as a bride showing off her belly, in a redneck bar, throwing rice (or salt?) in the streets, Hellraiser III in the theatres, scum everywhere…, great harbor scenes; “Feel No Pain” is full of more great sepia shots of dry earth, naked Sade and gauze, hands, desert platforms, topless bare back beauty, clouds, landscapes desert, water splashing dusty heads, gorgeous; “Kiss Of Life” is city modern, images, neon, lush apartments, naked statues, abstract images, rainy windows, lava lamps; “Cherish The Day” has a scantily-clad Sade playing a Gibson Les Paul on the beach, and on the top of a New York skyscraper with the World Trade Center in the background, grooving ‘till nightfall; “By Your Side” has a fun Garden of Eden setting, with the Tree of Life, sunset colors, and a gorgeous Sade – the band hasn’t shown up for quite a while at this point – and glowing lights, jewels, fireflies, moss, swamp,  winter dancing, the band finally reappears in the trees, in the orchard, fake city, yellow brick road, LA street corner and back to reality; “King Of Sorrow” with Sade as a single mother, goofy family life, chores, stress, buses, markets, and the night club band; “Soldier Of Love” big bright bombastic, nutty dancing,, horses and abstract images, lightning, deserts,  wonderwoman lassoing; “Babyfather” has Sade as a silky homemaker dancing over a sink of dishes, running a Jell-o van, sakura dancing – yay!

Here are some cool interview segments demonstrating the magic of Sade!

Sade’s “Why Can’t We Live Together” (Montreaux, 1984)

Timmy Thomas’ original “Why Can’t We Live Together” (1972)

I’d argue that Sade probably doesn’t have any bad songs, so a “greatest hits” collection is only a poor replacement for listening to all of her albums back-to-back in a single long afternoon, preferable with many drinks (wine? No… gin and tonic!). As such, many great songs were overlooked, but the one I really miss is “Why Can’t We Live Together”, the Timmy Thomas song that was the only cover on her first album (and one of the few she’s ever done, after “Still In Love With You”, of course).