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A career retrospective to have and treasure!,
This review is from: The Ultimate Collection (Audio CD)
At last! Sade's albums are rare these days. It was a decade between "Lovers Rock" and last year's beautiful "Soldier of Love".
This is a double CD set spanning the band's 27 year history and featuring singles from their debut "Diamond Life" through "Soldier Of Love".
Four new tracks on this second "Sade best-of" is positively spoiling her fans.
Her band's three decades of (increasingly sporadic) singles are all given a fresh remastering for the occasion, signifying that this is a band that remains comfortable with changing their sound to suit the times.
In 1984/1985 Sade was a veritable workhorse - a run of hits from the jazzy "Your Love is King", "Hang On To Your Love" and "Smooth Operator" to the lush "Never As Good as the First Time" and the sultry "The Sweetest Taboo", arguably her finest moment in a career of very fine moments.
She'd mine a similar baby-making vein with 1992's "No Ordinary Love", the song that sealed her US success and it's here in all its near-eight-minute nocturnal glory. There's also the out-of-character musical aggression of "Soldier of Love" to shake things up.
For some Sade's followers, the one rarity (a restrained Neptunes mix of "By Your Side") and four new songs will be enough to justify re-acquiring the old material.
As mentioned before, there are four new recordings, including the lilting guitar-driven, anguished ballad "Still In Love With You", a Thin Lizzy cover: their version is unexpectedly enchanting, even without Gary Moore's guitar work (interestingly, this is the third cover the band have ever recorded, the others being "Why Can't We Live Together" off their debut, and "Please Send Me Someone To Love" for the movie "Philadelphia" and featured on the 1994 "The Best of Sade").
Another newbie, "Love Is Found", breaks a sweat (not always common for Sade) with a Massive Attack-style dark dance feel, while the piano ballad "I Would Never Have Guessed" perfectly showcases that voice that has sold 50 million records.
Like any 'ultimate' album, the set has something extra: in this case a bland remix of "The Moon and The Sky", which pushes out the acoustic guitar in favour of a first and hopefully last appearance from rapper Jay-Z. and the Neptunes Remix of "By Your Side", featuring more guitars pushed to the fore and a different groovy bassline.
While a bit of an anti-climax, a few drab remixes don't diminish the heat the rest of the collection brings.
All in all, a career retrospective to have and treasure!