However, the album's title track and first single is anything but soft. Drums beat like a marching band headed toward the battlefield, as Sade sings about coping with a broken heart: "I'm at the borderline of my faith/ I'm at the hinterland of my devotion/ I'm in the frontline of this battle of mine, but I'm still alive."
That song's sound doesn't reflect the rest of the album, but the lyrical content matches the overall theme. Other standout tracks include "In Another Time" with its slow, soulful tempo, and "Skin," which sounds like it could have been recorded anytime over the past two decades.
Sade got a huge response to her last LP — she sold out Madison Square Garden and the album was a worldwide hit — and it seems likely that plenty of those fans will greet Soldier of Love with open arms. The group has established a tried-and-true formula, and they've been gone for so long that, if anything, they've suffered from underexposure.
Also, the timing is perfect, since Maxwell — who collaborated very successfully with Sade guitarist Stuart Matthewman early in his career and certainly tore a page from Sade's book — has come soaring back after an eight-year hiatus BLACKsummers'night, debuting at #1 and winning two Grammys.
Add to that, her influence remains strong: Drake, whose So Far Gone mixtape was as celebrated as it was dark and introspective, said he would love to work with Sade for his debut album. He said he aims to make people feel his music like they feel Sade's.
"The melody she chooses to use and her voice, it has that dark, sexy feel that a lot of my music has," Drake told MTV News. "The 'Lust for Life,' the 'Houstatlantavegas,' 'The Calm' — those all remind me of Sade moments where you hear it and it hits you. It makes you feel something."
And, as always, with Soldier Of Love, Sade makes you feel something.