Review Summary: As modest as the title of the album might proclaim itself to be, Stronger Than Pride is truly one of Sade's most ambitious efforts.Sade: The Band and the Woman
Part III: Stronger Than Pride
If Sade's sophomore effort saw a maturation of her artistic flair, then Stronger Than Pride sees her embrace somewhat of a more eclectic style. It definitely sounds fresher, she sings with supreme confidence, and, quite simply, some of her strongest material is to be found here. If the album could be be described in a phrase, it could be "a New-Age journey".
Yes, this album has a New Age vibe to it. The percussion used, together with the basslines and the guitar work, foster such images in the listener's mind. Sade's dominant subject matter is the same as always: romance and relationships. But the music is so entrancing that it doesn't even matter. Indeed, Sade has the unique gift of singing about this stuff without sounding cheesy at all.
Some of the standout moments: the guitar work in "Love is Stronger Than Pride", the basslines in "Paradise", the funky beats on "Nothing Can Come Between Us" (along with the backing male vocals), the mix of keyboards with bass and percussion on "Turn My Back On You" and the percussion and trumpet work on "Give It Up". Indeed, the arrangements in each of these songs are brilliant, and feel even better when the album is heard as a whole. So it's fair to say that this is Sade's most experimental release at this point (and some might argue that it's her most experimental, period).
The only thing that might turn off some listeners are the lyrics. Given that Sade's subject matter doesn't vary as much as the music itself, people who aren't interested in mushyness might want to listen to something else. Examples of said lyrics include the following: "I still really really love you, love is stronger than pride", "I wanna share my life, wanna share my life with you", "All I want is you to know that it's strong still can't pull us apart nothing can come between us"
. If you can look past this, then the music should easily sink in.
All in all, Sade's third album shows us how clever of an artist she is. Elements of funk, soul and world music permeate the album throughout as she proclaims her enduring love to an invisible partner. So, as modest as the title of the album might proclaim itself to be, Stronger Than Pride
is truly one of Sade's most ambitious efforts.