Diamond Life



by dannyboy89 USER (31 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2013 | 9 replies

Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Good background music for a cozy night at a beach house with your lover.

Sade: The Band and the Woman

Part I: Diamond Life

No place for beginners or sensitive heart
No sentiment left to chance.
No place to be ending but somewhere to start
No need to ask.

He's a smooth operator,
smooth operator,
smooth operator,
smooth operator.

If these lyrics seem familiar to you, and yet you never knew until now that they were the work of Sade Adu and her band, you’re not alone. Yours truly had listened to this song several times on the radio, but didn’t know who was responsible for it until a few years back. I first learned of Sade through Pandora (I’d made a radio station for Seal, and she popped up). After looking up her hits in YouTube, voila, I finally get to know who sings the song (and, by the way, I didn’t even know what the song was about until that time).

The truth is, Sade is probably one of the most overlooked artists of the 80’s and 90’s. But there’s no need to pity her: according to RIAA, all her studio albums up to Lovers Rock have accomplished multi-platinum status (not counting live albums and compilations). Indeed, she has been successful both artistically and commercially, while at the same time she has avoided the controversies typical of pop phenomena such as Michael Jackson, Madonna or Prince. Such a combination of commercial success and low media exposure is indeed a luxury of few. As to her influences, it is stated in the band’s official site that: “She listened to American soul music, particularly the wave led in the 1970's by artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Bill Withers. As a teenager, she saw the Jackson 5 at the Rainbow theatre in Finsbury Park, where she worked behind the bar at weekends.”. This explains why her band’s sound would lean mostly towards R&B.

In 1984, Sade released her debut, with Your Love is King and Smooth Operator being the leading singles. Other prominent tracks include Frankie’s First Affair and Hang On to Your Love. As the song titles imply, relationships (both positive and negative) are the dominant subject matter here (When Am I Going to Make a Living is an exception, since it deals more with the hustle and bustle of everyday life). But this isn’t to say, in any sense, that the album is cheesy. Instead, the music, as well as the lyrics, feels honest and deep. The only negative thing that can be said about the album is that it can feel slightly dull and tiresome for some in the second half, more so if you’re not a jazz, soul or blues fan.

Throughout the album, jazzy textures predominate; these gravitate around Sade’s voice. This isn’t at all a bad thing, since the instruments mix well with it, providing quite a refreshing experience. The basslines are very audible, the drumbeats go along smoothly, and the guitar flows in a similar manner. The brass instruments and keyboards also contribute well to the overall sound. While it’s the reviewer’s view that this isn’t Sade’s best album, it’s a great place to start, as well as good background music for a cozy night at a beach house with your lover.

Recent reviews by this author
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user ratings (46)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Review might be lacking in some spots, but I really couldn't think of more to say.

March 2nd 2013


whoa, this didnt have a review

Digging: Kode9 - Nothing

March 2nd 2013


This is probably your most descriptive review yet

Great job


Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


You could've trimmed the biography a bit, because this way it's half biography and half Diamond Life. Nevertheless, it's a good review.
I only checked her Greatest Hits record. I must get her albums, should I start with this one ?

Digging: Intronaut - The Direction of Last Things

Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


Album Rating: 4.5

Well written review, pos and finally another review for this artist.

All Sade albums are fantastic, but my favorite is Love Deluxe.

Digging: Manimal - Trapped in the Shadows

March 3rd 2013


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

All Sade albums are fantastic, but my favorite is Love Deluxe.

That one is her best imo. I haven't listened to her last two, but I don't expect them to be as good.

May 29th 2013


certain death death death death

September 1st 2013


lover boooooooyyy

September 3rd 2015


Smooth Operator > all.

Digging: 2047 - Snow

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