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Sade hit the Day-Glo mid-1980s like a cool, monochromatic breeze. The singer updated the classic continental style of Audrey Hepburn and married it with a vocal approach that was more whisper than growl. It's always worked, though, since Sade's icy vocal style brings out the stoic yet emotionally scarred nature of her well-crafted torch songs. Much of the credit goes to her ever-tight, streamlined band, who have a knack for seamlessly mixing smooth jazz and soul styles. After a fine debut and the excellent Promise (1985), her approach shifted as she began to mix overly repetitive light funk workouts with darker mood pieces; so while Stronger Than Pride and Love Deluxe each contain a bit of filler, strong tracks abound. Lover's Rock (2000) is her best since Promise, and it proves that Sade doesn't have to compete with changing fashion or styles. She is a genre of one.

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