Retrospective: Ranking Sade's Albums

By @TrueGodImmortal 

This one is a bit personal for me. I essentially have been a fan of Sade and her music since I was young. I first became a fan of her just because of her looks. She's beautiful and that captivated me at first, but her music provides a sense of relaxation and a near form of therapy that can't be denied in essence. She is a songstress with a one of a kind voice, flawless production and a band behind her that helps her construct the classic music she released. With that said, over the years, she's released 6 official albums. Most of them have strong replay value and a few would be considered all time classics, but how do they rank? What's her greatest album? Why? Today, I take on the task of ranking all of Sade's albums and seeing which one lands at the very top. This list was a bit harder to construct than I imagined. Her music is so timeless and each album has its own flavor that it's not very easy to put one over another, but here we go. Let's get into it.

6. Soldier of Love (2010)

-This was essentially the easiest choice for me. Out of all the Sade albums, this is the most lackluster without question. The crazy part? This is still a damn good album. It just lacks in some areas. Some of the songs that lack are the title track and "Be That Easy". However, on songs like "Babyfather", "The Moon and The Sky", "Skin" and some others, Sade shines very much.

The true selling point of this album was literally her return to the mainstream and music, and it garnered her nominations for awards and a platinum plaque, but it doesn't compare at all to the other albums in her catalog.

5. Promise (1985)

-I debated on putting this one just a little bit higher. I love this album personally. I felt like Sade sort of came into her own on this album and it shows on the songs and some of the direction on a number of the songs that were placed here. While we know all about the classics from this album, like "The Sweetest Taboo" and the smooth yet rugged "Is It A Crime", this album carries depth behind the songs and I can't really name a song I truly dislike, it is just some songs here that have a bit more replay value than others.

With heavy content on songs such as "Maureen" and "Tar Baby", Sade weaves through her vocal runs flawlessly and the jazz infused production that the band provides consistently is amazing to experience. She hits her highest point on this album via the timeless sound of "Jezebel" (yours truly sampled this also). It is the best song on the album outside of the hit singles and is one of the strongest displays that Sade has ever given us. If you're looking for somewhere to start with this album, "Jezebel" and "Is It A Crime" are where you should begin.

4. Lovers Rock (2000)

-I grew to love this album. Being perfectly honest with you. During this album release, I wasn't truly paying as much attention to Sade as I should have. Hip hop was dominating my listening experience and when this album released, I slept on it. Though it ended up selling about 4 million copies, I felt as if the public also slept on it. This album is a definite comeback album so to speak, and shows that Sade could still bring the flavor and the sound we all loved to hear. I wasn't a huge fan of the single "By Your Side", but when revisiting this album for the article, it was a relaxing and a beautiful song.

For "King of Sorrow", "Immigrant", and "The Sweetest Gift", Sade goes to a different place musically and although the heavy content was well received as always, this one felt different. It felt stronger. The lyrics and her delivery drove it all home and the airy yet jazzy and melancholy feel behind the songs resonated with listeners. My favorite song on this album would have to be "It's Only Love That Gets You Through", which is best described as vintage Sade. She took some creative risks here and as usual, they paid off. This is a very enjoyable album with high replay value and complete artistry throughout.

3. Stronger Than Pride (1988)

-When we talk about the run Sade had through the 80s and the early 90's, I always feel as if they leave this album out. Stronger Than Pride is a classic for sure and the "title track", which is officially titled "Love Is Stronger Than Pride", opens up the album with some true emotional complexity and drives home the message that love is truly king in life. The lyrics tell a story of being willing to let the grudges and problems go for the sake of your feelings internally, especially when we arrive at the honest lyric of "I can't hate you.... though I have tried", a feeling many have felt in the past I'm sure. Sade provides a song for those who may have experienced a bad breakup, but can't shake the feelings or love. The album embodies that on some levels as well overall.

Solidiarty and strength in love is evidenced on "Nothing Can Come Between Us", one of my favorite songs from Sade ever personally. The rest of the album is purely genius and features divine rhythms and vibes via songs like "Paradise", "Haunt Me", "Keep Looking", and "Clean Heart". This album is a masterful listen and it is in the conversation for her best album ever. If someone felt this album was her best, I couldn't even be mad, because it is definitely THAT good.

2. Love Deluxe (1992)

-I went back and forth about this one. Should it be the top pick? Is it really her best? Is it overrated? What is it about this album that draws us in besides the singles? Is this baby making music at its finest and most relaxing? Could it be the cover? With Sade glistening in beauty while topless and holding herself? Could it be the hit singles that still resonate to this day? This album is essentially her most famous and infamous and it rightfully deserves that title. It is a beautiful listen throughout and is one of my personal favorite albums of all time.

The opening sound of "No Ordinary Love" is something epic and it instantly changes your mood when you hear it. The lyrics are very strong and Sade sings about a love that she's never seen anything like before and if you've ever been in love that deeply, you can understand it on many levels. "No Ordinary Love" might be one of her biggest hits, but it is also one of her most powerful songs in artistry, taking the airy jazz feel and giving us a relationship song and a late night bedroom track all in one motion it seems. "Feel No Pain" is a great song as well and shows Sade with a bit more of a bounce to her voice and delivery. "Like A Tattoo" and "Pearls" are also great songs, and there is not a single song on this album that needs to be skipped. Ever.

However, my two favorite songs from this album remain to be her later two singles in "Kiss Of Life" and "Cherish the Day". Both are flawless in execution, resonate with the listener, and on "Kiss Of Life", the production is absolutely beautiful. When I think of this album, honestly those two songs are always what comes to mind, followed by "No Ordinary Love". From the cohesiveness to the feel and flow of the album, Sade achieves perfection with this one. So, why isn't it no. 1??

1. Diamond Life (1984)

-Our introduction to a younger Sade is something that 32 years later, I still can't get over. Very few artists can come in and make a classic on their debut and have their debut reign as one of the greatest albums of all time. Sade accomplishes this feat with the perfect debut album for any artist in any genre. Yes, I mean that. Diamond Life is of course a classic, but I'll go on record and say that it is the greatest debut in the history of music. Some might feel that's a bit much and while I understand why, it doesn't change the fact that this is the perfect album, much like Love Deluxe is, but the production is what gave it the edge over Love Deluxe.

Has there even be a better three song run in music than "Smooth Operator", "Your Love is King", "Hang On to Your Love"? Seriously, it is a rarity that we get three classic and impactful songs back to back to back like that. The horns on "Smooth Operator" and the way Sade flawlessly runs through it is magnificent, as she creates the perfect introduction to her album. My favorite Sade song remains "Your Love Is King", and 32 years later, it remains one of my favorite songs ever. The production is quite impressive, the adlibs and background vocals are even perfectly executed, everything about this song is amazing. The bounce and bop to "Hang On to Your Love" changes the pace slightly for the album and it worked wonderfully. These three songs are my favorite on the album, but they have plenty of competition on the album without a doubt.

The sounds of "Cherry Pie", "Sally", "Frankie's First Affair", "When Am I Gonna Make A Living", "Why Can't We Be Together", and "I Will Be Your Friend" are all timeless and help shape and to complete the project. Wait, did you notice that? That's the entire tracklist. The whole album. There are no weak tracks, no filler, and every song is a classic in its own right. How many albums can do that? There aren't too many. For that alone, Diamond Life deserves to be the greatest creation of Sade and ranked as her no. 1 album. If you haven't heard this album in a while, revisit it. You'll thank me later without a doubt.

What do you think about the ranking of her albums? Do you agree? Have a different opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



  1. Muito obrigado por este Raking de Sade. Sou fã aqui do Brasil - Ba. Forte abraço. Só conhecia os albuns The Luxe e The Best of Sade, agora vou seguir suas sugestões. Abraço.

  2. I have not yet heard Sade's albums. After reading this, I ordered Diamond Life. Thx.

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with your rankings. I love Sade' music. I cannot wait for their new album which is on the horizon.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts