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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Sade

Stronger than Pride (Vinyl Reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

Sade might be the lead singer’s first name, but it is actually a band. Sade Adu’s voice was always the biggest piece of magic in their quiver of musical wonderment, but it was far from the only thing they have going for them. Their music ranges from soulful pop to smooth jazz and more.

Stronger than Pride was their third album and was released in 1988. The disc has just now been released in this vinyl audiophile edition and it sounds incredible. This product is made with “virgin” vinyl and comes in a numbered limited edition gatefold sleeve. The album is great and so is this edition. It’s highly recommended from me.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Side 1
Love Is Stronger than Pride
Adu’s voice skates across a percussive arrangement as this starts. Other instruments join in the arrangement as it continues. This is gentle and jazzy and just plain magical. The piece gets more power and energy added to it later. There is some particularly tasty acoustic guitar soloing on this piece at times. 
Paradise
The rhythm section leads off here and it’s rather funky as it does. This is energized and tasteful. Adu’s voice really gets to shine.
Nothing Can Come Between Us
There is a bit of a funky groove to this one, too. The song really is a tasty one. As good as the first two were, this one is even better.
Haunt Me
Acoustic guitar, playing in a rather Spanish style, opens this. The piece grows out from there as a rather ballad-like one. It’s pretty and very evocative. I love the saxophone that comes across later, too.
Turn My Back on You
This one has a great groove to it. There is a bit of a funkiness here. Theirs is also a little bit of a stutter on the rhythm section that throws me off just a little. Still, it is infectious once you get into the groove.
Side 2
Keep Looking
I love the bass line that drives this. The whole thing has a killer smooth jazz kind of vibe that just works really well.
Clean Heart
There is more of a mellow rock element to this. It’s a bit more energized and rocking than the previous track. Still, the saxophone and other things lend a bit of a jazz texture.
Give it Up
Latin percussion starts this and keyboards flirt with the rhythm. Then Adu’s voice joins amidst this backdrop. The vocal arrangement is the driving factor here. Later in the piece it gets more jazz instrumentation in the mix. The bass line that comes in later has a lot of energy, too.
I Never Thought I'd See the Day
A slower, and much mellower arrangement is the concept here. This is one of the most sedate pieces here. It’s also one of the most artistic and unusual. It almost qualifies as art rock in some ways.
Siempre Hay Esperanza
This instrumental is jazzy and powerful. Different instruments solo at different places. While the biggest magic of a Adu album is her voice, this song is actually one of the best here. It’s a great tune and a great way to close the set.
 
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