Gay For Sade

18 02 2011

It’s true. I can’t help myself. Her music may be one degree (or less) away from Kenny G on the smoothness factor, but I don’t care. It’s just got this vibe, takes me back to the rainforest, feeling moody storm shadows pass through me, sipping sweet rum in plastic chairs, making early afternoon love while tourists beach and shop, the locals talk about boats and politics two floors below. Below the thick green, leafy and moist, crawling and reaching for a taste of tropical sun, which peeks out intermittently when the billowing clouds pass by, searing the sense of place into your skin, browning by the instant.

Sade’s music may have a home on every soft rock radio station, every “Quiet Storm”, feathering its way around plasticine corridors and the fuzzy foam labyrinths of corporate America, but that’s precisely because it echoes from a place (and a bosom) more exotic, suggestive of days of sand pounded by air-temperature waves and rays of sun in single digit latitudes offset by steamy nights in side street cafes or clubs oozing with hustle and soul.

Many fans are attracted to the escapism that goes with such exotic origins. Sade sings from a heart that seeks soothing reassurance and mercy as much as it demands to be recognized as its own. The mainline, the IV drip, to our souls is established through the Brazilian and Afro-infused arrangements. It’s not an escapism in the vein of Jimmy Buffet, who is all country and calypso and who preaches to the overgrown college boy crowd. Sade has won the hearts of the third world and first world alike, a fierce soldier of love, and she plays to her army, unafraid to care and unashamed to feel their feelings, rather than a frat party.

That’s why she is so beloved, she builds her fans a fortress within which they are free to be and feel exactly how they are, and through her love she shows that we are all brave enough to love without those walls at all. In fact, those walls aren’t even there; they only exist as a guide, training wheels, if you will. The ultimate power of Sade’s music, her lesson, is that we are free…we should and can be brave enough to love and be and feel exactly how we do without any need for explanation or justification. Because what we are is beautiful.