By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
It wouldn‘t be a Sade album if songs of heartache weren’t prominently featured, and Lovers‘ standouts are “King of Sorrow” and “Somebody Already Broke My Heart.” The former opens with Sade wailing, “I’m crying everyone‘s tears,” and the listener is instantly pulled into an elliptical but logical rendering of pain: “Just another day, and nothing’s any goodThe DJ‘s playing the same songI have so much to doI have to carry on.” The hook is in her voice, in the contradictory resignation and flamed grief, couched in a lilting soul groove. “Somebody” is straight-up R&B sans the bullshit -- adolescent writing, cynical posturing -- that’s infected the genre recently. It‘s about that moment when you make yourself completely vulnerable to your partner without knowing for sure -- and how can you? -- what he really feels, what his true intentions are. The song boils down to the confession: If you want to know if I can be broken, I can. And it’s been done. That she proceeds to profess love and need anyway is an act of courage that shames the machisma cluttering the charts.
What distinguishes this record from its four predecessors is the overall sense of peacefulness it emanates -- even as the lady sings her blues. In the past, Sade‘s songs have been testimonials given right from the scene of the crime, tears still flowing. Here, there’s some distance, underscored in the title cut. “Lovers Rock” is the name for a specific genre of reggae love songs; knowing that gives the track extra dimension, added heft. An ode to both the unpredictability and the power of love, the song opens with the juxtaposition “I am in the wildernessYou are in the music in the man‘s car next to me,” which not only establishes how “lost” the protagonist was, but poetically notes that love and salvation are found in unexpected places, that they roll in from the periphery. And when she tells her man, “You are the lover’s rockThe rock that I cling to,” it‘s not just stability she’s found in him; she‘s finally found her music.
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