Sade - Is it a Crime (1985)


Album: Sade - Promise (1985)
Song: Is it a Crime

This vocal performance on this track is absolutely spine chilling.
Most people are probably familiar with Sade's track "Smooth Operator", but I couldn't have told you any of her other tracks, which is a damn shame, as it turned out.

Aside from the phenomenal music, the most notable thing about Sade is the vocalist, Sade Adu. Her performance and command over her voice send shivers across my torso.
If the human voice is an instrument, this is an absolute showcase of how it can be used to portray emotion through song. The lyrics, combined with the very deliberate pronunciations take the listener along a wave of human feeling. I get those chills you get right before you spring in to action. Maybe it's like how yawning is contagious...
Sade is one of the few female vocalists who can powerfully sing in a lower range. Her actual speaking voice is surprisingly low, so this is no doubt a natural thing for her to do. As a listener though, we are treated to one of the velvetiest vocal performances I can recall. That would already be noteworthy if it were not also for the performance itself. You could not ask for a better singer to be lead in a jazz group like this.

Interestingly, on this album (and all of her albums) she worked with Andrew Hale, who was the composer of the LA Noire soundtrack in 2011, which was quite notable for it's similar smooth jazz feel. This track, though arranged by Sade, was actually written by Andrew Hale, and can almost act as a proto LA Noire song. And it shows!

Only this came out 25 years earlier... To think, the only reason I heard of this album at all was because of the Macintosh Plus Floral Shoppe Vaporwave album, which heavily sampled many of the tracks. Agree with it or not, there is something to be said about filesharing music, and culture. 30 years later, this song can still impact people.

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