There are a few select artists that appear ageless. Their voices never seem to be affected by father time and they look as fresh as they did when they first entered the music scene. Sade Adu is one of these artists. She’s as mysterious as she is talented. Coming and going every decade or so, Sade makes the music that’s defined quiet and intimate times for listeners of many genres. Her choice to remain private has not hampered her ability to share her emotion with the world, and with Soldier of Love, 10 years of emotion are heard.

The listener is taken on a melodious ride from the beginning of Soldier of Love. “The Moon and The Sky” is a brilliant first track. Sade’s voice remains breathtaking, and the soft production that includes a guitar lick that proves to be equally memorable. The remainder of the album follows suit. Even though mellow is a mood felt often, she is able to infuse Reggae melodies that complement, the at times, deep, heart-wrenching material. “Morningbird” sees Ms. Adu accompanied by a piano and soft percussion. Her performance on this track is similar to her classic track “Jezebel.” The listener is on the tip of her tongue and she successfully manipulates the listener into grasping the emotions she delivers so eloquently. “Long Hard Road” has a somber vibe that somehow produces the emotion of hope. When Sade sings “It’s going to be alright” you can’t help but believe her.

The phenomenal title track shows how big drums, hard hitting guitar licks, and a soft voice can sound sexy. She borrows a few Kool Moe Dee lines for the hook, but absolutely flips the song to perfection. In many ways the title track shows exactly what is brilliant about Ms. Adu. Without releasing a single song in a decade, she makes a comeback with a song that artists would have died to write, but fear to cover. Lyrics like, “I’m at the borderline of my faith, / I’m at the hinterland of my devotion / In the frontline of this battle of mine / But I’m still alive,” show writing ability that is seldom seen. Her ability to deliver silky smooth vocals over perfect production is a gift, but her ability to take the listener on a building ride without a climax is breathtaking. She’s always in control, even when it feels like she may be falling apart.

Soldier of Love is only a 10 song offering, but it manages to be comprehensive 10 songs. The listener doesn’t feel short-changed, and it’s clear that Sade crafted each song to perfection. Even the albums weakest song, “Babyfather” could be a hit.  It’s upbeat production contrasts with the deftly serious lyrics. It’s clearly intentional and though the song doesn’t soar, it is memorable. Sade the band and the woman are able to borrow genres, lyrics, and whatever else and make them their own. You can hear slight sounds of classic R&B, Country and Reggae, but your left with an overwhelming feeling that all the material is completely original.   

Without having a record released for the past 10 years, Sade comes with a very polished effort. There is intentionality to each sound, be it vocal or instrument. It’s an effort that undoubtedly will satisfy her fans. It’s not quite a classic, but it’s undeniably good. Her voice sounds as beautiful as ever and her band is still clicking on all cylinders. Sade is still that woman, and band, that musicians aspire to be. With more than 25 years of experience, the sound is still as refreshing as it was when she entered the scene. Take a deep breath, exhale, and enjoy the ride that is Soldier of Love. Who knows when the next go around will be?