February 03, 2010 at 05:00 AM EST
We gave it an A

Once a ”Smooth Operator,” now a Soldier of Love: After 25 years, has Sade finally allowed global events to sour the avant-soul outfit that bears her name? Nah. Beyond the surprisingly hard-thumping title track, the group’s first album since 2000’s Lovers Rock sticks faithfully to the lush quiet-storm sound that’s influenced younger artists from Maxwell to Everything but the Girl. Given the singer’s still-incredible voice — imagine the world’s sexiest yoga instructor leading an epic om — that lack of evolution hardly presents a problem. On songs like the space-folky ”Long Hard Road” and the reggae-scented ”Babyfather,” Sade exhales peerlessly while the boys behind her fluff one heck of a sonic pillow. Weary bones, rest here. A

Download These:
A brooding future-soul anthem Soldier of Love at myspace.com
A lilting, laid-back ode to dads Babyfather at last.fm

See all of this week’s reviews

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