Saturday, June 5, 2021

"Paradise" by Sade

Song#:  3515
Date:  05/14/1988
Debut:  95
Peak:  16
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Adult Contemporary, Soul, Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  Over the course of two albums, Sade's blend of international sophisti-pop mixed with soul and jazz resulted in a pair of #5 Pop hits including the 80s classic "Smooth Operator." Each LP would eventually sell over four million copies. For the band's third effort, Stronger Than Pride, they didn't change their winning formula too much and it resulted in another set of songs that was well-received. This first single got things kicked off and although it didn't reach the Top 10 like her previous two lead-off singles, it did get inside the Pop Top 20. The tune did much better at R&B where it became their first and only #1. It also got to #3 AC and #21 Dance. The hit would drive the album to #7 Pop and #3 R&B. The LP also got on the Contemporary Jazz chart at #21. A follow-up single, "Nothing Can Come Between Us," would reach #3 R&B and #21 AC, but fail to make the Pop chart. The third single, "Turn My Back to You" would top out at #12 R&B. Overall, the album would not be quite as popular as the first two, but it would still be a triple-platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  While Sade Adu and her band didn't necessarily move in a new direction with the new album, they did make one that was slightly more soul-leaning. This first single hinted at that with its steady, singular groove and bluesy vocal inflections from Adu. This track was slightly odd as it just established a 2-measure pattern that just continued to repeat with little variation over the entire song. The verse and chorus played out over the exact same groove. Sometimes when I hear this tune I think, "man, that bass player must be bored as hell on this song," because they play the exact same riff the entire. At least the keyboard player gets to add one little transfer chord near the end. Despite it being a bit repetitive, the verse and chorus were written well enough to make it seem like things were changing. Overall, it wasn't quite as engaging as her previous two Top 10s, but it was a cool, sleek, memorable track.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  It would be four years before Sade would release a fourth LP. Love Deluxe would come out in 1992 and would be another 4x platinum seller getting to #3 Pop and #2 R&B. It featured the single "No Ordinary Love," which got to #28 Pop, #9 R&B, and #14 AC. It also won a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Duo or Group. After that success, the band took a break. It would be eight years before their next effort, Lovers Rock, would come out. It nearly replicated the success of their previous album getting to #3 Pop and #2 R&B while going triple-platinum. It would win the Grammy for Best Pop Album. Another hiatus followed, this time for ten years. Sade's fifth album, Soldier of Love, would be released in 2010. It would be their second LP to reach #1 at both Pop and R&B. The effort would also earn them a fourth Grammy (Best R&B Performance). Once again, Sade set music aside for a long while. As of this posting date (May 2021), the only songs the band has released have been for soundtracks. They contributed "Flower of the Universe" to Disney's 2011 flick A Wrinkle in Time and "The Big Unknown" for the 2018 heist thriller Widows.


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