Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Sade 'Soldier Of Love' Los Angeles Listening Session
Tonight's Sade 'Soldier of Love' listening event, brought out local press, radio, retail and key tastemakers in the L.A. area, me included.
Upon arrival at the super swanky Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, I was greeted by a very generous staff. They took care of every need, whether it was filling your wine glass, offering up hors d'oeuvres or any directions to get around the hotel - it was service with a smile, all the way.
The actual listening session took place on the 9th floor of the hotel over looking Beverly and the Hollywood Hills. With a large flat panel TV, square center in the room playing Sade's 'Soldier of Love' video and with a posh couch/lounge area, I then met up with some Sony people attending the event. It work out well as we had the couch that was dead center with the AV system. We weren't about to miss a beat of one of the most anticipated records of 2010.
They first played the sizzle reel, a promo video piece showing Sade's complete body of work throughout her entire career. It's staggering to think of Sade's longevity in the business.
Then a short reel with the 'Soldier of Love' single used as the music bed for the TV show 'Lost'. I'm not too crazy about art meeting commerce, but this TV/Music marriage works well, or was it the wine kicking in?
I've posted up both Sade NYC listening session reports from Vibe and Showing Out on the site, but this was the first one out West.
And no, Sade was not at the event, but we wish she would've been there.
Keep in mind, there were at least 150 invited guest in the room talking through out the event while the music was playing. Although we heard the music well, at times our ears had to concentrate a little more than usual.
So on with the show...my track by track critique.
The Moon and The Sky
A great way to start off the record. A smooth track with an augmented nylon string & slide guitar present throughout. Sade's signature vocals are in there right off the bat.
Soldier of Love
They skipped this one in the sequence of the album, as they had already played the video for the track.
What's noticeable about this track is the piano and the arrangement of the music, gentle yet haunting. Sade creates the wholeness that is the icing on the cake. Rich and creamy, this track is.
The groove on this track is irresistible. It almost feels that it has a reggae beat to it, but without sounding too reggae. The song is upbeat.
Long Hard Road
This track harkens back to the Sade from the 80's, but updated to today's sound. Jazzy flavor, with a beat that is subdued enough where Sade can bend and stir her vocal showcasing around.
Be That Easy
Where 'Long Hard Road' had a somber feel to it, 'Be That Easy' has an optimistic edge to it. In this part of the album, Sade starts to stretch out and become more free with her vocals, doing nice harmonies while keeping the melody in place. The guitars are sharp and the bass bobs along to the beat.
Bring Me Home
A beat loop is present on this track as it sets the tempo for the song, somewhat hot and acid like. This one got steady head nods from the group. The guitar and bass were stretched out, right in the pocket.
In Another Time
This for me is one of the more distinct tracks on the album. It closely resembles a Stax/Hi-Records Memphis sound without the horns. The shuffle was deep in place. Sade inter plays with the laid back sax & guitar grooves as the song winds up and down.
As we know, Sade's music embodies hope, fear, pain and longing for true heart felt love. At this point in the album, the lyrics come to a head. As the title suggests, Sade is in her most vulnerable state. Tender yet evoking.
The Safest Place
The last track is the most simplest in form and presentation. An acoustic guitar, an isolated beat and cello strings. Sade beckons that the heart is really the most safest place to be.
To recap, Sade's 'Soldier of Love' measures up to all expectations. It wouldn't fair to pick one song as the best. 'Soldier of Love' needs to be heard front to back, like a good album should be heard.
I would also like to say, hearing the record in its entirety before the public is not necessarily fair to you the readers.These advance listening sessions can be deceiving, as we can get hyped out too quickly, too fast. But rest assured, on February 9th you can safely buy Sade's 'Soldier of Love' and be confident of the choice you've made. It's that good of a record and definitely worth the wait.