Music Review Tuesday: Sade’s Soldier of Love
Posted on February 2, 2010
Tuesdays at ThickWit are about music. The first Tuesday of the month will be dedicated to an album review. If you’re interested in having your album reviewed, or are interested in writing a review on a female identified musician of color, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
When Sade’s last album was released I was a Junior in High School. This I remember for a few reasons.
One – I used to listen to music in the six minute passing period between Chemistry and English. Six minutes was exactly enough time to plug in headphones, ignore a good friend in the hallway, and fall into the lyrics of King of Sorrow. I learned the album verbatim that year. Knew the lilt and fall of her background vocals, and knew when to shield my eyes so no one would see me mist. I didn’t know why it hurt to listen, but finger to flame, I could never draw back in time.
Two- That was the year I fell in love. The year I fell in love with falling in love. The year I learned to smell someone’s hair and to come home a little late and to sneak out of class a little early. That was the year I learned to pick the roses that grew next to the corrugated tin next to the Donahue Gym. These were the pink flowers, of which I have written before. The ones I learned to put into my own hair for storage, and over the ear of a boy who held me close. The year I was dumbfounded to first kiss and be kissed in return, ardently. And this was the year I learned how to listen closely to the sultry and sexy movements of Sade, and to identify their genesis, at the root of sorrow.
Three- All I ever want is to be touched. And that is a precarious way to be in the world. This, too, I learned in my Junior year.
I listened to Lover’s Rock enough to make it my own cliche. Way past playing it out. Listening now conjures very few new emotions, or any response at all. I learned to detach from music I loved that year, too, I suppose. Problem with that is what does one do in the nine year gap between opuses? One listens to india for a bit and then fiona and wayne and drake and lupe and tariq and quest and stevie and stevie and donny and the noisettes and and minnie. Brilliant, all, but few satiate the rough edge of me Sade found with her last effort. An effortless effort, it seems.
Needless to say, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 for nearly a decade. Suffered through a release push back, and tormented by the majesty of the first single. I got an advance copy but plan on buying two or three in the record store, just so I can frame the cover art.
I’m not a big anatomy buff, but I do know that the brain creases and folds as it is exercised. My heart, I think, does this same thing, a crepitating billow. Want to listen? Come close. Put your ear right here. See? See how it sounds? Just like Soldier of Love.
I am listening to it now. Flying on a plane. Using internet in the sky. Feeling wireless and dreading the reality that all heavy objects will one day meet the ground. Even this plane.
My thoughts? Her sound is what provokes some folks to use synth. There exists a timbre in her voice that’s a sort of automated corporeality that feels a little sumn like autotune. Which is a frail simile, maybe, but you know what i be trying to say when i be saying stuff. Also, it bears noting that the production on this piece is tougher than what we’ve heard before. In the gamut of music production, I’d say Sade and collaborator Mike Pela are now closer to Timbo than Sly and Robbie. Soldier of Love is a bit grittier, befitting its title, perhaps. It is dangerous, more adept at navigating the risk of falling.
I am tempted, reader, to give you an analysis of each song. I am tempted to transcribe all of the lyrics and to link them to the corresponding carrie mae weems images that spring to mind. If you are a man I have loved openly, or am no longer speaking to, or have once kissed amidst the budding coral rose of corrugated high school walks, I am tempted to tell you to buy this album and walk into the darkest room you own, and purge yourself of thoughts and second guesses, and to turn the volume up, neighbors be damned, and to find me in the quarter rests. But I will not tell you to do that. That is just what I will do. When I am home, and grounded, and listening for something beyond my first time.
“my heart is a lonely warrior// that has been to war//so you can be sure//in my heart your love has found the safest hiding place//inside is a stream//around is a wall//no one from hell could break.”