Somebody Already Broke My Heart

Sade says very profound, simple things about love. Though she writes about heartbreak a lot, she never comes off as a sad person. She makes it sound like a storm to be weathered, from which she emerges with her strength intact. That makes her some kind of throwback as a songwriter. Her stoicism and ability to find poetic beauty in pain is timeless. It’s also antithetical to modern songwriting, which wants to view heartbreak as trauma and breakups as a series of petty grievances. Right now is the age of confessional songwriting, in which everything is messy and ugly and raw, and that is in many ways cathartic. But though songwriters like Kristine Flaherty (K.Flay) who paint themselves as messed-up and dysfunctional are easy to relate to (and I admire them for that), the old-fashioned grace of Sade is something to aspire to.

Slave Song

Only Sade can write a song about slavehood – the spiritual kind – and imbue it with the kind of glamour that sells perfume. That doesn’t take anything away from Sade’s songwriting; her words and delivery are powerful, her message is strong. But Sade is Sade – she oozes glamour and sensuality. Her music, even at its most thought-provoking, is made for silk sheets and candlelight. Is it wrong to think that contemplation can be glamorous? Spirituality should not be glamorized or commodified – as it has been – for the ashram is no place for sensuality, unless you take deprivation itself as a sensual pleasure. Spirituality calls for asceticism, a point made by every major creed. But we want to gain some glint of enlightenment within ourselves AND still roll around on silk sheets. How about empowerment and self-awareness, then?