Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sade on the inside

In a career stretching back more than 25 years, Sade hasn't exactly been prolific nor terribly visible. There were always short windows of opportunity to catch a glimpse of her whether it was a new video that might get some late night airplay in the US or in one of very few interviews.

Interviews have been rare at best. Other than seeing her on tour, you almost had to come across a piece of her humanity by accident. That's part of what has made her somewhat enigmatic.

You can imagine my delight at seeing a full, ten minute clip of Sade and her oft hidden band mates talking about their recollections regardging the making of "Soldier Of Love", their tenth longplayer.

There's a certain thrill at watching Sade in her element. The rain. The dark, cavernous studio. Her deep, seductive voice. She has this timeless, goddess like quality about her. Almost frozen in time. She hasn't aged a day. And she's in fine fettle. Her yearning, honey soaked voice still conjures up images of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday but still remains individual, the slight melancholy enhanced by her singing just a fraction of a tone under the note.

It's almost too much to absorb in one viewing. Even her band mates, the stuff of legend, make numerous appearances and speak! It's as if the veil has been lifted after 25 years and we are able to catch a sliver of the real Sade. Needless to say, there probably won't be many more of these clips made available online.

A few things struck me as I watched the behind-the-scenes footage. Sade seems right at home in the studio even though it's an arduous process for the band. I love the shots of her with the wrap on her head. Very cozy and unassuming even in moments of creative seclusion. Interesting to know that they don't see each other or write any material before they enter the sanctuary of the studio.

At 3.34, when Sade, in deep and husky tones, says, "I'm on a boat.", she pauses briefly and I feel like I want her to finish the thought with "I'm on a motherfuckin' boat!". You'd never expect that from her. The thought of it makes me giggle.

Right around 4.12, I feel like she's revisiting the intro to the video for "The Sweetest Taboo". She certainly has a connection with the wet weather.

Just when you think she's going to fade into the background after such invasive camera work we get a fly on the way look at the making of the video for the title track.

I totally love her Mother Earth, equestrian disco look most of all. There's something unexpected and sensual about her dance moves, too. Her aura is real. Her personality is an unusual cocktail of warmth, cool confidence, intensity, joy and slight brooding.

After my first listen to the full album, I have to say there are a few monolithic tracks. They are epic in their subdued grace. A few more spins and I'll unleash my thoughts.

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