Thursday, March 5, 2009

Keep lyin' for you

206. Sade - "The Sweetest Taboo" (Epic, 1985)
207. Sade - "No Ordinary Love" (Epic, 1992)

One of the few positive memories I have of the smooth jazz station my parents used to put on in the car (at this point, anyways, god knows when the reevaluation of that stuff will happen) is Sade, which, I had no clue at the time, is a band, not just one beautiful, deep voiced singer.

The lyrics of "the Sweetest Taboo" are so self-reflexive that it's distracting. While Sade (the band) maybe weren't Quiet Storm R&B proper, they were close enough, at least in texture (soothing) and function (romantic), the repetition of "it's a quiet storm" states their ode to the genre very explicitly. Then there's the title. Sade (the singer) is singing to a man, true, but the word taboo is just a perfect coincidence, considering this band featuring "exotic" rhythms, fronted by an "exotic" beauty, and consumed, at least in retrospect, by millions of upper middle class white folk with slightly "exotic" taste. Still, the song is fucking great. It's incredibly catchy, the rhythm is fun, and Sade has a wonderful voice. I put it on all the time.

"No Ordinary Love" is a slightly different affair, in that it might be one of the most suffocatingly dark songs ever to grace VH1. Downright dirgy, it is. No smooth jazz saxophones, and even the corny guitar contributes to the sense of dread. I'd hope this is "no ordinary love," Sade, cause, man, it's bleak. But you can't call me someone who doesn't love a good, long, repetitive dirge once in a while, so here we go.

(The video for "No Ordinary Love" is the shorter radio edit, but it's damn near iconic, and therefore included for your viewing pleasure, along with a YouTube of the full song, inexplicably matched with a montage of "Liason", which, after a surprising amount of research, I have determined is General Hospital Fans' name for the relationship between the characters Liz & Jason. Hilarious.)

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