By Ogbonna Amadi
An army of fans more than 500,000 of themÂ went out to support Sadeâ€™s latest CD, â€œSoldier of Love,â€ giving the group their first No. 1 disc in 20 years.
â€œSoldier of Loveâ€ sold 501,665 units in its first week, debuting on top of the Billboard 200 album charts, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The CD is the follow-up to their Grammy-winning album â€œLovers Rock,â€ released in 2000. The group is led by 51-year-old Sade Adu (ah-DOOâ€™).
Itâ€™s been 10 years since her last album, a fatal hiatus for almost any other artist, but just another hibernation for a woman whose disdain for fame only deepens our fascination. Sadeâ€™s voice sounds unchanged, a unique emotional instrument that conjures visions of rain-streaked windows and windblown streets. Her topics love, loss, sorrow, strength remain the same. But her music has still moved forward.
The aggressive title track makes a bold statement, its stabbing drums continuing the bass-heavy direction of her 2000 release, â€œLoverâ€™s Rock.â€ Some of the new albumâ€™s 10 songs are classic, smooth Sade. But thereâ€™s also a country twanger, a reggae-tinged ode to father who are not husbands, even Sadeâ€™s first uptempo number since 1992â€™s â€œKiss of Life.â€
This is only the sixth album in 25 years for Helen Folasade Adu, born in her fatherâ€™s Nigeria and raised in her motherâ€™s England. She is still working with her original three bandmates: bassist Paul Denman, guitarist and saxophonist Stuart Matthewman, and keyboardist Andrew Hale. She is still mysterious, ageless and defiant.
â€œI only make records when I feel I have something to say,â€ Sade says on her Web site. â€œIâ€™m not interested in releasing music just for the sake of selling something. Sade is not a brand.â€