Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Sade tried to live up to the dream and turned the quiet storm of this punch drunk war of hearts into the sweetest taboo. The group had become an international success with their debut album 'Diamond Life'. Sessions for the follow up 'Promise' also took place at Power Plant Studios in London, with some recording taking place during a two week stay in Provence at Studio Miraval. Once again, they worked with producer Robin Millar; bringing in Mike Pela and Ben Rogan, with the band also contributing to production and doing the arrangements.
Pela remembers: "The band was on tour and performing 'Is It A Crime', and I thought it was fantastic. A real, epic torch song that clearly communicated these musicians were capable of more. I subsequently thought the new album also had this epic quality, because they were stretching out a bit and some of the songs were longer as well as quite soulful and intimate. The first album had been recorded pretty much live and the second one was, too, although we began to use the technology more, sampling drums by way of an AMS with a lock-in feature. Everyone appeared to be discovering that at the same time — 'Ooh, look what you can do with this!' Anyone who didn't have a Fairlight was fiddling around with an AMS."
The sessions featured Sade Adu on vocals; Stuart Matthewman on guitar and saxophone; Paul Denman on bass guitar; and Andrew Hale on keyboards; with Dave Early on drums and percussion; Martin Ditcham on percussion; Terry Bailey on trumpet; Pete Beachill on trombone; Carlos Bonell on guitar ("Fear"); Nick Ingman on string arrangements ("Fear", "Tar Baby"); and Jake Jacas on vocals ("Never as Good as the First Time", "Maureen").
Adu aserts: ''There isn't a deliberate theme running through the album - each story belongs to itself. Writing 'Fear,' I had to imagine a situation that would illustrate a feeling of apprehension in the face of things one has no control over. I wanted to suggest that such emotions can be more dangerous and powerful than the situations that provoke them. 'Never as Good as the First Time' isn't really about love but about growing up. When I say that it's never as good as the first time, I'm talking about the enjoyment of anything when you first discover it. It can be as insignificant as the thrill of going to a nightclub for the first time. Those particular feelings can never be repeated. Maureen' is personally my favorite song on the album, because it's about a friend who died five years ago. I didn't want it to be sad or self-indulgent but to represent the joy and good times we had together. I think of it as a happy tribute. The song came almost like magic. It was written in two hours. I never intended to be a singer. Had I had serious designs on a singing career, I would have approached it in a more orthodox way. Since it happened almost by accident, I've just done what felt natural. But that doesn't mean I'm not extremely serious about my career. I've poured my whole life into it.''
'Promise' reached number thirteen in Japan; nine in Australia; six in Austria and Norway; four in Sweden and on the US jazz album chart; three in Canada, France, and New Zealand; two in Germany; and number one in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. The next year Sade won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
"The Sweetest Taboo" became her biggest hit in the US, going to number five on the pop chart, three on the R&B chart, and number one on the adult contemporary chart. The song stayed in the top forty for six weeks and remained in the hot 100 for over six months.
"Never as Good as the First Time"
"Is It a Crime"
1. "Is It a Crime" Sade Adu Stuart Matthewman Andrew Hale 6:20
2. "The Sweetest Taboo" Adu Martin Ditcham 4:37
3. "War of the Hearts" Adu Matthewman 6:47
4. "You're Not the Man" Adu Matthewman 5:10
5. "Jezebel" Adu Matthewman 5:30
6. "Mr Wrong" Adu Matthewman Hale Paul Denman 2:52
7. "Punch Drunk" Hale 5:25
8. "Never as Good as the First Time" Adu Matthewman 5:00
9. "Fear" Adu Matthewman 4:10
10. "Tar Baby" Adu Matthewman 3:59
11. "Maureen" Adu Hale Denman 4:20