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CD Review: Sade

Soldier of Love (Epic)

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You can't rush Sade. In the 25 years since her debut, she's released only six albums. Her latest, Soldier of Love, comes a full 10 years after her last one, 2000's Lovers Rock. But it's always worth the wait. Here, the warm, simmering R&B of her 1984 debut, Diamond Life, receives a few nips and tucks (marching drums, skittering electronic noises). Yet it's unmistakably Sade — smooth, cool and impeccably arranged. Her deep, rich voice has lost none of its force over the years.

She coats opener "The Moon and the Sky" with lush, smoky tones that make the wide-open spaces she's singing about the most intimate place in the world. On the title track, a repeated percussion roll pulls along a spare hook that's all about the surrounding elements: random sound bursts, handclaps, Sade's voice. Soldier of Love isn't always this exciting; some of the late-night ballads drag at a nearly crippling pace. But there's enough gorgeous, sexy music to keep you satisfied for another decade. — Michael Gallucci

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