on January 21, 2005
If you're a product of the eighties, most likely you've never known a time without the ever prolific, soulful Sade and frankly, who would want to? The Best of Sade is a sixteen track masterpiece featuring some of her best work until 1992. Released in 1994, the album went double platinum in the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy, in addition to going platinum in nine other countries.
With her exotic beauty and captivating voice, Sade manages to cast a spell on any listener; however, I must admit, it's "never as good as the first time." Somewhere around 1995, I stumbled across an old cassette tape in my dad's study. As a teenage male, anything that featured a beautiful woman on the cover piqued my interest. I rushed to put the cassette in my stereo and the first thing I heard were the horns and bass of "Is It a Crime." Then I heard one of the most beautiful voices say, "This may come...this may come as some surprise, but I miss you." I missed her too, yet I didn't even know who she was.
It was Sade's sophomore album, Promise, released ten years earlier in 1985, which quickly catapulted her to the top of my list of favorite singers. I thought to myself, "Why hadn't I heard this before, or of Sade, for that matter?" Perhaps, an even better question at the time would have been, "Who is Sade?" I wasn't even sure of how to pronounce her name, until my dad came in the room and muttered something along the lines of, "Hooked on Sade, huh?" That, I certainly was.
Helen Folasade Adu was born in Ibadan, Nigeria, to an African father and an English mother. Growing up, she'd listen to some of the best soul singers of her time like Ray Charles, Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye - artists who were able to capture an emotion, such as heartache or love, and force that feeling upon all who listened; a skill Sade, herself, naturally possesses.
The effortless "Stronger than Pride" fuses island beats, jazz, and R&B into a timeless classic. Her dynamic handling of "Is It a Crime" is what caught my attention. The soft, gentle tone at the beginning is overrun with emotion as Sade pleads for a love lost. "Jezebel," with its haunting appeal and evident vulnerability in Sade's voice, forces you to listen and take notice. But, of course, you should be doing that anyway. On "No Ordinary Love," Sade's voice oozes sex appeal, making it one of the best love-making songs ever. The lyrics to "Cherish the Day" fit perfectly into the deep, sensual musical accompaniment. "Pearls," the jewel that closes this collection, is so full of emotion, I cried the first time I heard it.
I'm not entirely sure how to classify Sade; so many influences are evident in her music. However, this is definitely a chill-out album to relax with your loved one and "Cherish the Day."