Sade, the R&B group featuring vocalist Sade Adu, will release its first collection of new material in almost ten years, “Soldier of Love,” on Feb. 8, 2010 through Epic Records. The singer/songwriter, looking as youthful as ever in a black, silk pant suit and her staple slicked-back ponytail after revealing herself to thrilled members of the media, previewed the album in New York City’s Frederick P. Rose Hall at Lincoln Center last night (Dec. 14).
“Soldier” is produced by Sade along with the band’s friend and longtime collaborator Mike Pela. The band’s lineup remains virtually unchanged since its inception in 1983, and the songs on “Soldier” are written primarily by Adu, saxophone and guitar player Stuart Matthewman, bassist Paul Spencer Denman and keyboard player Andrew Hale.
“The Moon and the Sky” finds Adu declaring her devotion to her former lover, singing, “I pulled in all the stars and the moon/laid them on your feet till I gave you my love/you are the one that got me started/you could let me love anyone, but I only wanted you/why did you make me cry? Why didn’t you come get me one last time,” over choppy violins and simple drums. The title track, which was released last week as the first single, begins with a gentle wind, followed by muted trumpets. “I’ve lost the use of my heart, but I’m still alive/still looking for the light in the endless pool on the other side,” Adu croons in her husky voice over marching band drums and smeared electric guitar riffs.
The heartfelt “Morning Bird” is packed with strings, piano strokes and tambourine clatter, as Sade questions, “How could you? You are the river/I told this life, how could you/you are the morning day, you sang me into life/everyday, fly away, you are the blood of me/the heart of my dream.” She commends a man’s fatherly instincts on “Baby Father” over a guitar and drums, while she shelters the love of her companion on “The Safest Place,” singing, “In my heart, your love has found the safest hiding place” over a piano-based production.
“Long Hard Road” has dramatic violins and “Be That Easy” is reminiscent of a country love song with guitars and whistles. Meanwhile, Sade sounds pained on “Bring Me Home,” with lyrics like, “I’ve cried for the lives I’ve lost/I feel so close but far away from God;” “In Another Time” is one of the album’s highlights, with a stunning violin arrangement and saxophones; and “Skin” features a delicate drum and bass beat.
Sade’s 2000 release, “Lovers Rock,” sold 3.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.