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Hanging on to Love
on 13 January 2003
Sade had been absent for years and returned with this rich and bluesy masterpiece. It wasn't what some had expected after so long a time but it is exactly what it was meant to be. It is a sumptuous meal seasoned with love and emotion. Sade gives us a portrait of inner strength anyone who has ever loved, and lost, knows all to well. For the most part this is about holding on to hope for love and not becoming jaded by those who hurt us.
It would have been easy for Sade to have a 'guest' or two on this album but she has kept not only the integrity of her music but her own personal integrity in tact. "Lovers Rock" is a mix of African and Caribbean styles that has some great moments. It also includes what will surely become one of the most requested and fondly loved songs in her already full catalog of diamonds.
I am speaking, of course, of "Somebody Already Broke My Heart." Anyone who has ever loved has had the feelings Sade lays bare here. But that has always been the secret of Sade's music. It either captures a mood and makes us feel, or it puts into words what we do feel. It is a magic gift Sade posseses like few others.
"King of Sorrow" is another shining example of Sade's vocal artistry matched with perfect rhythms to create a song we have all felt before. Who hasn't felt at one time or another that it was sorrow, especially the sorrow love can bring, that rules our lives?
We are treated to the hope of love here as well though. "By Your Side" and "All About Our Love" shows how we hang on to real love once we find it. Even the love for a child is touched upon as Sade sings "The Sweetest Gift," a song she wrote for her daughter. It is about the light of hope all children carry into the world.
As Sade reminds us here, it really is only love that gets us through. In "Lovers Rock" we have an easy and peaceful portrait of a heart that has someone to cling to even in the darkest moments. This album is a meditation on love and hope, hanging on untill it comes our way. It is gentle and soulful.
This may not be what some were expecting but Sade fans will see it's beauty and integrity. It is Sade that we cling to musically. She is the rock we cling to and the artist we swim to in a storm....