Sade Art & Soul

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    Critics sometimes dismiss Sade's music as being too soft, too bland, too lovelorn. Sade says her critics should adjust the volume on their stereos, that her music sounds better when it's "played loudly." She lets tiny fluctuations in her music carry emotional weight, and she wants listeners to hear the particulars. After all, isn't love best measured in miniature?--a look across a breakfast table, a forgotten anniversary, a hug that lingers past hello.

    Sade's work over the years has become increasingly thoughtful and textured, and the songs on Lovers Rock are adorned with many lovely, epiphanic touches: the mumbled vocal sample that haunts Every Word: the way Sade almost whispers her vocals on It's Only Love That Gets You Through, commanding close attention and conjuring a sense of intimacy. Other maturing pop stars shed their skin like snakes, looking to adapt to prevailing trends. Sade's musical evolution has come slowly, subtly. The power of her music is rooted in gentle grooves and meticulous vocal phrasing. It's a popular saying that the devil is in the details; it's also been said that God is there as well. In her details, Sade finds something else, something uniquely human: soul.

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