Sadé knows heartbreak. But she doesn't make it a pondering matter, nor does she dwell on how it debilitates and drains. She understands that finding the enigma known as Love, is an on-going battle for many - that when Love comes, it comes. Without the will to open your heart to it, one will not survive that battle. Sadé is a Soldier of Love.
After a ten-year hiatus, an artist can fall into that oft-feared pit of irrelevance. Sadé however, has managed to resurface with a sound that is still unmistakably hers. Some crafty intricate production from long-time collaborator Mike Pela, can be heard on this fresh sounding sixth studio effort. Sadé belongs still and she can do it without the assistance of this generation's crop of over-used producers and production teams.
Other than the fancy guitar work, synths and crafty rhythms, the focus is all on vocals, front and center. True, Sadé technically is a group, but for me the term has always evoked an image of its frontwoman. The mood is dark and the theme of betrayal begins right away on opening track The Moon and The Sky, where we learn that her lover should know why it is in his heart why "they couldn't have the moon and the sky". The album's haunting title track, introduced here previously, is defiant and despite "losing the use of her heart", Sadé is still adamant that Love will come. Babyfather is a pleasant surprise with its reggae inflections, acting as a beautiful tribute to a father's love for his child. Interestingly, the song doesn't touch upon her relationship with the Babyfather himself and seems to be more a conversation between Sadé and child (Ila), suggesting some distance with the man who inspired the track (Bob Morgan?).
Be That Easy in its '60s-like nostalgia, imparts the wisdom that an appreciation for happiness cannot come without hardship and Love is one of those things that cannot be easy. In Another Time, continues the album's venture into the '60s, lending some support to the broken-hearted advising them to trust karma. She assures us that good things will come "in another time, in another place". The very sexy Skin gives the heartbreak theme a bit of closure as she "begins to wash (him) off her skin". Finally.
The album is just perfect at ten tracks - no more, no less. In under 42 minutes, Sadé effectively takes us on a deeply affecting journey into her psyche and we get to take away with us a feeling that hope can still prevail without any preachy adage. A stellar album, indeed. Soldier of Love will be available in Europe on February 8, 2010 and the following day in North America, via Sony Music. Grade: A