Sade - Promise
Label: Portrait – FR 40263
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Record: VG+ VG++ few light scuffs
Cover: VG+ ringwear, cornerwear
Includes Lyric Sleeve: VG+ few 1 inch stains
Genre: Funk / Soul, Jazz
Style: Jazz-Funk, Soul
A1 Is It A Crime 6:18
A2 The Sweetest Taboo 4:31
A3 War Of The Hearts 6:46
A4 Jezebel 5:27
B1 Mr. Wrong 2:46
B2 Never As Good As The First Time 4:57
Guitar – Carlos Bonnell 4:06
B4 Tar Baby 3:55
B5 Maureen 4:18
Backing Vocals – Jake Jacas
Bass – Paul S Denman
Drums, Percussion – Dave Early
Keyboards – Andrew Hale
Percussion – Martin Ditcham
Saxophone, Guitar – Stuart Matthewman
Trombone – Pete Beachill
Trumpet – Terry Bailey
Vocals – Sade Adu
Listening to a Sade album is like wearing an Armani suit: it's stylish and impeccably tailored, but it won't look foolish in six months. In other words, the band's music is elegant yet able to survive passing trends and fads.
Their second release, "Promise," may be the best. Fusing jazz and pop with a dash of r&b, "Promise" is the personal journey of a broken heart and a bruised soul. It bleeds with emotion, and it captivates the listener through its refined and understated grace. Sade Adu won't go down as a singer with tremendous range, but she sure uses the best of what she's got.
We can both hear and feel Sade's longing in the excellent opener "Is it a Crime," in which Ms. Adu can't seem to shake the man who once loved her. She also runs the gamut of emotions from affection ("The Sweetest Taboo") to longing ("Maureen") and pain ("War of the Hearts"). But the track that makes me stop EVERYTHING is the have-your-Kleenex-ready breakup number "You're Not the Man." With the assistance of Stuart Matthewman's pained saxophone, Sade wakes up and realizes that she no longer can connect with the man she loved for so long. I think this may be my favorite Sade song ever. "Promise" is simply a work of class done to near-perfection.
In fact, Sade is one of the reasons why I can't warm up to jazz pop upstarts like Norah Jones. The latter singer is an able, but unexceptional, singer whose material suffers from milquetoast production and too many contrivances. But Sade gives you the real deal, straight from the gut. "Promise" still has the juice after all these years and it comes highly recommended.
Musically, this is imminently satisfying with the elements that make Sade Adu's vocals and the group's instrumental backing distinctive. As in their initial album, the group is given space by the vocalist to exercise it's own voice. This is an emotional set, one with which many women can empathize as Sade portrays the hurt coming from a love that goes sour, and yet at the end shows the strength so that she can get on with her life. It's a set which helps men understand what the woman is going through during such a period.
The opening song, "Is It A Crime", certainly is a strong one as are her hit, "The Sweetest Taboo" and "War of the Hearts". These three set the stage for the entire album. "You're Not the Man", while not as notable musically, does wring a sensitive person's heart as she expresses how the man seems at the end of the affair.
"Jezebel" has a touch of bitterness. "Mr. Wrong" fits in nicely before the instrumental "Punch Drunk". And this instrumental is a great jazz number, hardly likely to be one's favorite cut or anything like that, but it plays a role in the mood of the whole set.
"Never As Good As The First Time" was another hit for her, but in the context of the entire album takes on deeper meaning. "Fear" is a darker song typifying the aftermath of the woman's hurt. And then, thankfully, Sade lightens up as a woman coming up from the depths with "Tar Baby" and "Maureen".
Sade - The Sweetest Taboo
She is the Essence of Smooth Music
Sade - Is It A Crime ?
Sade - Is It A Crime ?
@ Live Aid 85
Sade - Never As Good As The First Time