Sade’s first new song in seven years is out today – it’s called “Flower of the Universe,” and it was commissioned by Ava DuVernay for the soundtrack to A Wrinkle in Time.
A dreamy, wistful track, her voice is joined only by an acoustic guitar as she croons “They hear you when you cry / This love is far and wide / When you smile the stars align / Flower of the universe and child of mine.”
We haven’t had anything new from her since the 2011 compilation album The Ultimate Collection. Before that, Sade’s last full-length album was 2010’s Soldier of Love.
A Wrinkle In Time is in theaters March 9. Take a listen to the new track below.
Great news: your one-stop summer mixtape has arrived. Dedications, presented by pop duo Kisses (whose latest album, Kids in LA, we’ve already gushed about) was for the show Art Laboe Connection on freestyle LA beacon 92.3 FM. And while the typical mixtape means one producer exerting control over the whole, Dedications is assembled track by track from musicians the world over, each of whom insert a shout-out.
Who wouldn’t want a glimpse into the smooth sounds favored by Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone (she goes with Sade) or Swedish maestro Jens Lekman (the truly chill “Our Love,” performed by Jennifer Lara)? This is like having your barbecue tag-team DJ’d by some of the coolest people in the world. And nowhere else are you going to get Explosions in the Sky’s “Your Hand in Mine” compiled with Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”—but still, it all manages to hang together, fading from purple drank to pop balladry and back to funk again. Sure beats sweating over your own playlist.
Let’s focus on the ladies of smooth this week, shall we? There’ s obviously more than can be narrowed down to just five, so let’s just call this a "Ladies Of Smooth, Volume 1" post.
Sade – "I Couldn’t Love You More" (1992)
No list of smooth ladies would be complete without Helen Folasade Adu, better known to the world as Sade, whose music has help conceive thousands of babies around the world. It’s nearly impossible to pick just one of her jams, for now this is a favorite.
Stevie Nicks – "Sable On Blonde" (1983)
More or less "Dreams Pt. 2",) but who can be mad at that? Stevie is a goddess. I’m happy to note that I just picked this up on vinyl and there’s more than a few smooth cuts on it.
HAIM – "Falling" (2012)
Clearly influenced by Stevie & The Mac, these girls are well on their way to smooth stardom—this track in particular has been on constant repeat in the Sea Level offices. Happy to hear music like this is alive and well.
Anita Baker – "Mystery" (1986)
Everyone knows "Sweet Love" from her 1986 Rapture, but this lesser-known cut is even smoother to me. That bassline!
Suzanne Ciani – "The Seventh Wave: Sailing Away" (1982)
Suzanne Ciani is a true pioneer of music, especially electronic music. Sometimes we forget to focus on instrumental smooth music, and this one is a bubble bath for the ears. Waves crashing about, glittering synths, and lush pads washing over you. Love you, Suzanne. Shout outs to the homie DJ Steve for uploading this from his personal vinyl collection.
Last month we got wind of news that Jay-Z had finally landed a coveted collaboration with Sade on her upcoming hits album, The Ultimate Collection and today the track hit the web. Hov earned himself a verse on a remix to “The Moon And The Sky” which originally appeared on the Brit singer’s Soldier of Love LP. This is one of three brand new tracks that will appear on the hits compilation. Another single “Still In Love With You” ( a cover of Thin Lizzy’s 1974 classic) premiered earlier in the week.
Last year, Sade famously turned down a collaboration offer from Drake, who sweetly admitted that it was one of his biggest wishes, dreams, and desires to hop on a track with the Brit singer. She later told the LA Times that she’d even passed on an official offer from Jay-Z, despite her fanaticism for classic Nas and Wu-Tang era hip-hop. Her reason? “I’m too scared. They’ll find me out. It’s like The Wizard of Oz. There’ll find out there’s nothing there.” Well, here’s the shining light at the end of that yellow brick road: Jay-Z is now scheduled to appear on Sade’s upcoming hits album, The Ultimate Collection.
Despite Sade’s seemingly firm resolve that she would only collaborate with her house band, Hov can now go down in history as the lucky rapper to land a feature with the cult favorite. He will add a verse to the official remix of “Moon & Sky” on The Ultimate Collection. The original Soldier of Love cut will appear on the double disc alongside several other Sade classics and three brand-spanking new tracks.
Look out for Sade and Jay-Z’s collaboration on May 3. Sorry Drizzy, maybe next year.
Sales-wise, it’s been a dire time for popular music lately. Ke$ha still holds tight to the top spot of the singles chart with “TiK ToK” and the single that settles anew for the runner-up spot is cynical charity bile. But, at least, this week brings some good news: Sade’s Soldier of Lovetopping the pops offers a much-needed reprieve from the ProTooled pop dross gumming up the works lately.
Full disclosure, though: The only Sade song I know is this one from ten years ago where frontwoman Sade Adu is picking raspberries from a tree and skipping around a field. But that they can still be perceived as saving popular music to someone so woefully unversed with their work is a testament not only to the band, but to Soldier of Love. Said video for the band’s 2000 single “By Your Side,” along with the video for their current single, the record’s title track, follow below.
Soldier of Love moved over 500,000 copies in its first week alone to nab the top spot, fending off competition from Lady Antebellum, Jaheim, Lil’ Wayne, and Josh Turner.
Tomorrow sees the end of a decade-long recording hibernation for the Grammy-winning pop star Sade. The last time she put out an album, 2000’s Lover Rock, the music industry was a very different place. Napster was just a baby, and Pitchfork was still something the devil carried. But Soldier of Love—out tomorrow—is already number two on the Amazon charts thanks to pre-sales, meaning that even in the age of Hype Machine, Sade fans like their music served up the old school way. Fortunately for you, we don’t. So in honor of plummeting record sales, here is Sade’s Soldier of Love, for free, after the jump.