Reports of Sade’s return seem greatly exaggerated.

She's baaack....or is she?

She's baaack....or is she?

Sitting here wasting my time
Would be like
Waiting for the sun to rise
It’s all too clear things come and go
Sitting here waiting for you
Would be like waiting for winter
It’s gonna be cold
There may even
Be snow

~ Sade/”Love Is Stronger Than Pride

Nine years is a bit of a wait.   Nine  winters have come and nine winters have gone since the last time Sade graced us with her presence.

Nine years ago there were no Ipods.  No MP3 players.  Not much in the way of blogs or internet radio.  Nine years ago MTV still played music videos (I think).   There wasn’t even an American Idol.

In one of my first posts when I started blogging nearly a  year ago I pointed out that it had been a long time since one of my favorite artists (and most enduring crushes) Sade Adu had made a new album.  Her last album, Lovers Rock (2000) was released so long ago even His Purpleness, Prince, jokingly said he was getting sick of waiting for Sade to make a new album.

So a lot of people have been waiting and waiting and waiting even longer for some sign that Sade was back in the studio and some new music might be on the horizon.

I got the news from my 14-year-old daughter this morning the new Sade album was on the way this fall.    Being both a pessimist and hopeless romantic, I was just a wee bit skeptical.   There had been other rumors of Sade going back into the studio and they had always proven to be nothing but illusion and rumor.    Like any good journalist I waited until I could confirm it from another source before believing it.

I Googled “Sade” under the news category and sure enough there was an article from  The Guardian (U.K.) newspaper confirming the return of the reclusive chanteuse.

R&B singer Sade is to release her first album in nine years, according to reports. Sade’s US website has been refreshed and a new site, Sade2009.com, has been launched with purported information about the forthcoming record.

According to the new – and still unauthenticated – artist site, “[Sade] does not make albums for the money, Sade is an artist who creates music purely on inspiration. Hence why we’ve waited nearly a decade for another release, like a poet with a nine-year year dry spell until she fell in love again, Sade will bless us with another classic.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/may/27/sade-release-album-nine-years

Of course, this being Sade we’re talking about I won’t believe it until I have the CD in my hot little hands.  The Sade2009 web site  tries hard  to look legitimate, but something about it  appears a bit “off”.

The artist deep in thought (or depression).

The artist deep in thought (or depression).

Here’s why.  It starts with the quote from the site in The Guardian and one troubling word: “unauthenticated.”

Sade does not make albums for the money.” (Really?  Then why do they stop me at the cash register when I try to walk out of the store with one of her albums?  She ain’t giving her music away for free.)

“Sade is an artist who creates music purely on inspiration.” (Oh puh-leeze!  You want me to believe it takes almost a decade for Sade to get inspired?  Take some Zoloft and get over yourself, darlin’).

“Hence why we’ve waited nearly a decade for another release, like a poet with a nine-year year dry spell until she fell in love again, Sade will bless us with another classic.”

Now that’s just silly.  I seriously doubt Sade has gone through a “nine-year dry spell” but even if she has, she has to fall in love before she can drag her butt into a studio to crank out a record?    Sade has only made five studio albums over 25 years and there was a eight-year gap between 1992’s Love Deluxe and Lovers Rock.   That’s a little more than a “dry spell”.  That”s a creative Sahara.

As a  music critic I get plenty of CDs  with promotional materials promising claims that this new album is the best one the artist has ever made  and will be a monster that will burn up the charts.  Not once have I ever read a promotion that claimed the artist will “bless us with another classic.”   The Artist and Repertoire (A&R) folks can be pretty gung-ho about their releases, but they know the difference between calm confidence in a performer and wild exaggeration.

As much as I liked Lovers Rock, it wasn’t one of Sade’s best albums and fell far short of being a “classic.”    It’s cool with me if anyone thinks otherwise.   I’m just a bit skeptical that any A&R  professional would treat even Sade as if  she’s a high priestess arisen to bring forth the good word to her faithful acolytes.

The kicker is there is only one photograph and that’s the cover shot from Love Deluxe of a nude and topless Sade cradling her body.   Yes, it’s one of my favorite pictures of the lady, but it’s not the one I’d use on a website to announce her return.   It looks like a terrible scan and letters from the text disappear against her body.  The phrasing of words seem to be from someone for whom English is not their native language.  It’s strictly amateur night.

Even more telling, is the absence of a record label logo.  Sade has been recording for the Epic label of Sony Music and the distinct “Sony” and “Epic” labels are missing from the Sade2009 site.

All which leads me to conclude while the reports in The Guardian of a new album might be legitimate, the website is a fraud.

I went to the Sadeusa.com website and there is no notice of a new album.  The same deal applies on the homepage of the Sony Music Group.    Very unusual for a musician with a dedicated, die-hard fan base as Sade.   Her return after nearly a decade should be big news for a troubled music business, but there’s nothing official, no buzz, and nothing but internet chatter and a suspciously inauthentic website.

Someone appears to be playing mind games with long-suffering Sade fans.

UPDATE: According to Billboard.com, Sade is indeed back in the recording studio, but according to bandmate, Stuart Matthewman, they are still in the beginning phase and a November release may be a bit optimistic.

“She is in the studio and the album will come when it is ready,” a source at Sony tells Billboard. “You don’t wait for years for one and then rush it.”

Sade’s longtime bandmate Stuart Matthewman, a.k.a. Cottonbelly, also confirms that new material is in progress, though he says the project is still in its “early days” and won’t be close to finished until “later in the year.”

Keep the fires burning.  It appears we’re closer than we were, but still a ways off before Sade “blesses” us again.

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