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SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) - Lovers Rock cover
3.30 | 5 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2000


1 By Your Side 4:18
2 Flow 4:07
3 King of Sorrow 4:26
4 Somebody Already Broke My Heart 4:32
5 About Our Love 2:14
6 Slave Song 3:17
7 The Sweetest Gift 1:22
8 Every Word 3:07
9 Immigrant 2:52
10 Lovers Rock 3:18
11 It's Only Love That Gets You Through 3:00


Backing Vocals – Leroy Osbourne
Bass – Paul S. Denman
Guitar, Woodwind – Stuart Matthewman
Keyboards – Andrew Hale
Percussion – Karl Van Den Bossche
Vocals – Sade Adu

About this release

Epic – 500766 1 (UK)

Recorded At Sarm Hook End / El Cortijo Studio / Deliverance Studios

Thanks to Sean Trane for the addition and snobb for the updates


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After making an impressive, indelible mark on the music world with four well-received, extremely high-fidelity albums from 1985-1992 the popular band known as Sade went on hiatus for eight long years before resurfacing finally with “Lovers Rock” in 2000. Any fears of the public forgetting them disappeared quickly as the record soared to #3 on the Billboard Charts and ended up garnering the Grammy for being the year’s Best Pop Vocal Album. The fact that the group’s lineup consisting of Andrew Hale, Stuart Matthewman, Paul Denman and, of course, Sade Adu herself was still intact guaranteed to their legion of fans that the professional standards they’d set for their sound in the earlier years would remain consistent. In other words, if one didn’t care much for their smooth grooves before you probably wouldn’t be changing your mind after a few minutes of “Lovers Rock” and that truth still holds water today.

The disc begins with “By Your Side,” an emotional ballad that’s subtle in its methods but far from being boring. They wisely move the music out of the way for Sade’s alluring voice to dominate and to reassure their followers that she hasn’t lost any of her hypnotic timbre during their extended break. The Hammond organ’s barely-there presence expertly applied by Hale is a great example of their collective deft and experienced knowledge of production techniques. However, I’m not as enthusiastic about the second cut, “Flow.” Its hip-hop drum effect is understandably a sign of the end-of-the-millennium times but it also dates the track like an out-of-style hat. There’s not enough creativity in the meat of the song to keep it from becoming tedious before it’s half over. “King of Sorrow” is next and the deeper ambience in the presentation distances it from the stale dryness of the previous tune. The songwriting involved is on a loftier level, as well, and that makes it much more memorable. One of the highlights of the album is “Somebody Already Broke My Heart.” The sultriness Sade portrays in this tune is what distinguishes her from her peers that think a flamboyant, in-your-face approach is the only way to grab the attention of the jaded masses. She proves them all wrong and the band’s use of cool yet dynamic punches makes this track a joy to indulge in.

“All About Our Love” is a pleasant ballad set to their trademark swaying feel. It’s short but very sweet. “Slave Song” is unusually eclectic for this group and it’s nice to hear that they don’t always take the safe route. It’s not greatness by any means but I do admire their boldness in stepping away from their comfort zone. “The Sweetest Gift” follows, an acoustic guitar with lone vocal piece that’s simply gorgeous in its sublime simplicity. “Every Word” offers a fine contrast between the relatively arid background behind the verses and the lush opulence that bathes the choruses. “Immigrant” isn’t a bad number, especially in its unorthodox chord structure, but at this juncture how I yearn for a real snare sound! The title cut is next and its sexy, sensual atmosphere surrounds Sade’s unique voice like a dense fog and that’s what her audience, including me, craved to get from her after so long. By the way, pay attention to her phrasing. It is immaculate. They end with “It’s Only Love That Gets You Through,” a song that employs a rare (for them) waltz tempo that glides underneath this Hammond-heavy ballad. The decision to leave drums out of the mix was genius because it would’ve been a distraction to reestablishing the fact that Sade is one of the silkiest singers ever to walk up to a microphone.

The lack of real drums is the only detrimental aspect of “Lovers Rock” that I can relay to the reader but that shouldn’t deter anyone who likes what they hear in classics like “Smooth Operator” or “The Sweetest Taboo” from investing in the album. It’s not a deal-killer. Like all of their material, this is music you can rely on to reassure that there are still modern groups on the planet that can consistently make mature, jazz-influenced music with a touch of genuine class.

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  • Mssr_Renard
  • stefanbedna
  • Drummer
  • Sean Trane

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