Sex, Sadness, and Sade: A Roundtable Interview With Local Lovers and Haters
|Photo by Kevin Mazur|
|Does Sade make you feel sad or sexy?|
No doubt, her enduring popularity is fueled by a few iconic 1980s hits. But over the years, she's cultivated a legion of loyal followers that follows every development of her slow-burning career, from this year's comeback album, Soldier of Love, to exceedingly rare interviews and once-a-decade international tours.
There's also the universal quality of silky jazz-pop stuff like "Smooth Operator." As a 2010 New York Times article on the Brit songstress noted: "Through a quarter-century of recording, Sade has heard regularly about how her songs' mixture of mourning and consolation have brought her fans comfort. 'If it's like a lighthouse to guide someone past the rocks, that's a great thing,' she said."
But we wondered, "Is this true? Is 'No Ordinary Love' really an emotional shelter from the storm of life? Or is everyone thinking about sex when they hear a Sade song?" So, in an attempt to penetrate the deeper truth of public opinion on Sade and her music, Crossfade spoke with a small group of six local men (half lovers, half haters) to find out whether the lady's music is actually a lighthouse or just a sexy sex house.
The Lovers Alex B. is currently a super big fan, although he wasn't always one. As he's gotten older, his love has grown.
Alesh H. told Crossfade, "I don't consider myself a fan," before explaining why he's a fan.
Arturo F. is the only member of the roundtable who listens to Soldier of Love on his iPod.
The Haters Nick R. doesn't consider himself a hater in any sense of the word. But he has an enduring distaste for Sade's music.
John Pablo P. is a pure hater.
Tommy H. can be considered a hater. But it isn't that Tommy doesn't like Sade. He just doesn't like her recent music.
Not So Bad Crossfade: Most people like Sade. Why?
Nick R.: I think the music itself is good. She has a nice voice and good sax. Everybody wants good sax. In the '80s, I had no love for Sade at all. Now I can at least appreciate her voice, and the music to a lesser extent.
Alex B.: It's not pop. It's not forced down your throat like a Britney Spears song or Christina Aguilera. It's relaxing music that you can play in a multitude of different environments. She's definitely got one of those sounds that's an acquired taste. I know it sounds corny, but it's like a fine wine or something. I didn't really become a fan until I saw her in concert.
Alesh H.: A lot of the R&B, especially in the '80s, was musically sophisticated in terms of the musical structures and the chords and stuff. Unlike a lot of the singers, she was involved in the songwriting and the composition.
Arturo F.: Her music is not overpowering. But it's pleasing. And it's true.
Post-'80s Sade It's safe to say that the lady's glory years were the 1980s. But how about her '90s and 2000s stuff? Love it or leave it?
Nick R.: Sade keeps whining. She's been whining since the '80s.
Alex B.: There are more forceful drum lines on the new album. But it still plays to the original equation that made her so appealing on her first couple of albums.
Tommy H.: [The recent music has] more production value than really needs to be there and less of the soulful groove that really made her popular. The essence of her... I think she hits on it every once in awhile. She lets go, loosens up, and she'll have one descent song for every eight or nine songs. So, every album will have maybe one good song.
Arturo F.: Her voice hasn't changed in 25 years. She's similar to Kool and the Gang, if you like one of their songs, you like all of their songs. It's not "Jungle Boogie," but it's still pretty good.