Sade: Ultimate Collection

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Posted May 27, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0
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Double disc collection covers everything that is Sade and some

At the very beginning of their career, the English band Sade seemed to be a bit of an oddity. The only artists parading in this form of sensuous jazz-like R&B at this particular time were Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman and sometimes, Frankie Beverly’s Maze. Even Kenny G’s groundbreaking Silhouettes (1988) hadn’t been on the scene yet. But it was definitely strange to be hearing a four-piece band led by the easy-breezy Sade Adu playing to the strengths of smooth contemporary jazz and bedroom slow jams with this kind of allure. To date, Sade has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and racked up four Grammys, including the coveted New Artist of the Year in 1986. Most impressively, 2009’s Soldier of Love, the band’s first album in ten years, debuted at number one on Billboard’s 200 and went platinum months later. As odd as Sade’s relevance is to pop music, the sophisticated smooth grooves seem to never falter with their faithful fan base. Hard to believe that five albums into their career, fans would be hungry for a more respectable “greatest hits” collection; one that would honor Adu’s hit singles (“Smooth Operator,” “The Sweetest Taboo,” “Paradise”), her R&B sweet-nothings (“Kiss of Life,” “Soldier of Love”) and privately celebrated delicacies (“Cherish the Day,” “No Ordinary Love”). The Best of Sade was a nice warm-up single disc, collecting everything up to 1993, but with the recent success behind Soldier of Love and a high demand for more Sade was quickly instituted. Now the double-disc affair of Ultimate Collection, using original versions rather than the shorter singles, seems to give Sade’s fans what they want.

Divided into two halves (1984-1992 and 1992-2011) and with fifteen tracks a piece, Ultimate Collection traces Sade’s discography like a graceful obituary, leaving none of her hits out of the collective. It manages to throw everything from The Best of Sade into the fold, except for the Percy Mayfield tribute song “Please Send Me Someone to Love” and “Like a Tattoo.” But it’s no one should cry over the omissions when you have so many additions to play with. The closing half of Disc Two focuses on the buzz cuts from Soldier of Love while also focusing on new material, including a sophisticated soulful cover of Thin Lizzy’s 1974 gem “Still In Love With You,” a much-talked about Jay-Z collaborative remix of “The Moon and the Sky” and two original cuts left off their last album (the hip-hop spiced “Love Is Found,” “I Would Never Have Guessed”). It is quite fair to say that the new tracks are no match against Sade’s former output, but it definitely proves once again why Sade is deserving of a double-disc collection, especially now. If you already own The Best of Sade, then there’s no real need to update your CD library with this two-disc episode. But if you’re hungry for more and want it all, it’s time to supersize that order.

J MATTHEW COBB

HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: 03 May 2011
  • Label: RCA/Epic
  • Producers: Sade
  • Spin This: “Soldier of Love,” “Smooth Operator,” “Nothing Can Come Between Us,” “Cherish the Day,” “Still In Love With You”

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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