Though it’s been ten years since Sade’s last release, their new album Soldier of Love preserves the sound that makes them one of the UK’s most successful soul and R&B groups ever.
Since their 1984 classic Diamond Life, Sade Adu’s uniquely impassioned voice, the softly chilling instrumentals, and emotive harmonies separated them from contemporaries with a style known as “Quiet Storm era,” named after her ubiquitous hit. Only the second album from the group in almost twenty years, the contemporary sound has shifted tremendously suggesting an issue of relevancy. The issue presents two options, adhere to their classic success or reinvent themselves in the contemporary context. Soldier of Love chooses the former, adding a reggae-flare on “Babyfather,” and grittier, more intrusive drum patterns (than their usual “soft rock”) on “Soldier of Love” and “Skin,” but continuing their sensual smoothness on tracks like “The Safest Place,” and “Morning Bird.”
Excluding the noted changes, the album could have been released at any point during the group’s career. This is undeniably favorable for existing fans, but in this vain critiques are often had for bands seeming stagnant, suggesting the question, “Is it wrong to continue something that’s proven successful and remains entirely unique, or does it become gimmicky?” There is no right answer, but while Solider of Love will warm and sooth the hearts of existing fans, it might feel dusty to followers of contemporary queens like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Beyonce.
Listen to her album here. This article is reproduced from SF Station.