After a summer holiday, Four Word Reviews returns to look at another musical masterpiece. October’s choice is the classic compilation The Best of Sade, possibly the ultimate dinner party soundtrack album and without a doubt the single smoothest record ever produced.
Sade is smooth. We all know this. The sound of Sade is the sound of smoothness itself. But listening to this album has taught me things I didn’t know too. One of them is that Sade is actually a band. The band’s vocalist is Sade, obviously, but Sade is actually a member of Sade, whose other members are called Andrew, Stuart and Paul. Those names aren’t smooth, which explains why the band is just called “Sade” and not “Sade, Andrew, Stuart and Paul”. The other thing I learned is that I know more Sade songs than I thought. I thought I would know maybe one or two of these, but it turns out I knew at least seven of them. My life is, as a result, at least 350% smoother than I had previously realised.
|Track||Title||Word 1||Word 2||Word 3||Word 4|
|1||Your Love is King||Smooth||saxophonic||synth||symphony|
|2||Hang On to Your Love||Sad||smooth||strife||song|
|5||The Sweetest Taboo||Smooth||synthesizer/||syrinx*||synthesis|
|6||Is it a Crime||Sorrowful,||swelling||smooth||showtune|
|7||Never as Good as the First Time||Slow,||smooth,||slack-bassy,||short|
|8||Love is Stronger than Pride||Sleepy||spoken||smooth||sonnet|
|10||Nothing Can Come Between Us||Sustains||same||smooth||sound|
|11||No Ordinary Love||Smoothly||sinister||sorrow||song|
|12||Like a Tattoo||Sad||smooth||samey||shite|
|13||Kiss of Life||Slick,||swaying,||stirring.||Smooth|
|14||Please Send Me Someone to Love||Surprising||smooth||semi-||soul|
|15||Cherish the Day||Seductive||smoothness.||Standard||Sade|
* Another name for the pan pipes that begins with an S.
It is surprisingly hard not to like this album. I’m not saying I actually like Sade because I’m not sure I actually do, but it’s so incredibly inoffensive and easy to listen to that it’s difficult to identify anything in particular to dislike. Most of the songs were nice background music. The overall smoothness is almost overwhelming, washing over you in a way that’s impossible to fight. It’s like listening to a silent tidal wave of Golden Syrup.
My favourite thing about this album is how well organised it is. Most people throw a Best Of together without really thinking about it, but Sade (the person or the band, I don’t know which) has been admirably tidy and focussed by putting all the tracks from their first album first, then all the tracks from their second album, and so on. A further improvement might have been to assign each track a number from the Dewey Decimal Classification System, but failing that they have made a good start on keeping an organised album. My least favourite thing is the last track, which says that an old woman dying in Somalia “hurts like brand new shoes”.