Undoubtedly, one of the most sensual performers to grace any stage, Sade has a primitive and timeless sound. Much to many singers’ chagrin, her vocal stylings simply cannot be duplicated. Known for dropping out of the spotlight-only to resurface with fresh musical techniques, Sade has quite a selection of tasty hits to reminisce overÃ¢Â?Â¦
1. “Cherish the Day” – Perhaps my favorite of all Sade’s songs, “Cherish the Day” did something with the wistful guitar solo at the beginning of the tune. Seeing this lithe woman standing on a New York rooftop (in the video), cradling an electric guitar was almost as powerful as the song itself. Her smooth voice oozes over the slight percussion-and then the song abruptly shifts to a hip-hop sample. Brilliance.
2. “Is it a Crime” – Sade croons about the woes of loving someone. The emotional outpouring is further punctuated by the insistent saxophone all throughout. Think smoky jazz club in the 1940’s, but with a modern delivery. That is why this song is such a classic.
3. “Pearls” – Halleluuuu-jah. Hallelu – -jah. These are words which brought tears to my eyes at Sade’s Lover’s Rock concert in Atlanta. The tepid flow of the song builds into something quite phenomenal, as Sade rips into her verbal couplings of “Hallelujah’s”. Never have I heard these words cried in song, with such emotion.
4. “No Ordinary Love” – Picture it: It is 1993, and the movie trailer on the television screen depicts a husky-voiced Demi Moore and an eccentric Woody Harrelson. They are discussing the indecent proposal that Robert Redford has just made to the two of them. In the background of the trailer, Sade is heard vocalizing about no ordinary love. The film? Indecent Proposal. The song, of course, is “No Ordinary Love.” The gritty shimmying guitar work in this song is underscored by Sade’s silky lyrics. The bass guitar, in this tune is what gives the song its sensual edge.
5. “Paradise” – This song always made me think of wide expanses of beach, and tumbling waves. Because of this, I have come to the conclusion that Sade’s writers and musicians are nothing short of being virtuosos. The hand drum work in the song is what gives it its tropical appeal. But Sade’s exclamation that she would “Ã¢Â?Â¦wash the sand off the shoreÃ¢Â?Â¦” is the lyrical flair that makes the song so potent.
6. “Sweetest Taboo” – This woman has a penchant for epitomizing very specific emotions in her song. “Sweetest Taboo” is the song that many women could identify with: loving someone who we know is no good for us. Sade was able to exact this emotion with these two simple words. Again, her tropical panache is sublimely displayed in this presentation.
7. “By Your Side” – Later, after a much-talked about hiatus from the music world, Sade released the album Lover’s Rock. The first release, “By Your Side” was a very calm introduction back onto the charts. The video was very ethereal, and was nothing less than you would expect from such a sensual performer. But in this song she conveys the sweetness of loving someone. As a matter of fact, the song is so tender that it was used in a fetching scene in HBO’s “Sex & the City”-where Samantha finally breaks down, and accepts the fact that she loves Richard.
8. “Turn My Back On You” – Underrated. That is the perfect way to describe this little ditty. Released on her Stronger Than Pride album, this song was a throwback to early 1970’s funk-done in slow Sade style. The groove is terribly infectious, and though not a chart topper, it’s definitely a song to behold.
9. “Love is Stronger Than Pride” – Perhaps the song that best sums up any amount of humiliation is this one. Sade articulates utter humility in the lyrics to this song. The ethereal instrumentation, and gentle, rumbling percussion are what make this song so believable.
10. “Smooth Operator” – I do believe that the song this Nigerian beauty is best known for is “Smooth Operator.” One of her earliest hits, it embodies the essence of the Ultimate Playboy. The jazzy sound of this song is a bit jaded compared to her later works. But it is this song that introduced the world to this mysterious woman.
Since her Lover’s Rock tour, Sade has dropped out of sight again-for the most part. The beauty of her catalogue of work is its consistency throughout. Never does she delve too deeply into a genre that is out of her league. Rather she incorporates many different elements in such a way that the sound becomes all her own. Her infinitely smooth delivery, and precise phrasing of lyrics is what makes her a musical icon.