SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) — Lovers Rock (review)

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) — Lovers Rock album cover Album · 2000 · RnB Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Chicapah
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.
Share this review

Review Comments

Post a public comment below | Send private message to the reviewer
Please login to post a shout
No shouts posted yet. Be the first member to do so above!

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Progressive Big Band
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
Blue Train Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
My Favorite Things Hard Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

A Different Riff : Minnock Sings Shire Vocal Jazz
JOHN MINNOCK
Buy this album from MMA partners
Yong Yandsen / MAB189 / Richard Allan Bates : Cryroom Jazz Related Improv/Composition
YONG YANDSEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Glass Mirror Jazz Related Improv/Composition
YONG YANDSEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Jazz Online Videos

The Song Is You
JONATHAN KARRANT
js· 15 hours ago
Love Will Find a Way
THE NEW WONDERS
js· 15 hours ago
"First Light " - Das Kapital
DAS KAPITAL
js· 1 day ago
Is There Love In Outer Space?
JIMI TENOR
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us