Yet another artist who's chosen 2010 to be the Year of the Comeback, soul siren Sade's first album since 2000's 'Lovers Rock' is pretty much what you'd expect of a Sade album - chilled-out coffee table soul-pop.
Reportedly one of the most successful British female recording artists of all time, it's not hard to see why Helen Folosade Adu appeals to the general public. Since the '80s and the release of her debut album 'Diamond Life', the singer has intermittently churned out collections of smooth soul-pop songs that are easy to listen to, easy to hum along to on the radio, and the easy option for your mam's birthday present.
Her sixth studio album is a similarly completely agreeable set of such songs; 'Soldier of Love' is hardly groundbreaking, but it's produced to a high enough standard for it to remain on the right side of irritating.
Opening track 'The Moon and the Sky' is representative of the album's overall sound; lyrical lamentations of lost love and an evenly-paced soundtrack are built around the now 51-year-old's distinguished, raspy vocals, with understated flourishes of guitar and other stringed instruments to bulking up the jazz club vibe sufficiently. 'In Another Time''s dawdling lounge style adds double bass and saxaphone to the mix, while the perkier 'Babyfather' sounds like the sort of songbook that Corinne Bailey Rae grew up studying.
At worst, 'Soldier of Love' could be described as 'coffe-table soul' - an album with mass appeal but little innovation. Still, this is a woman who has had the market cornered for the past two decades - and there's no doubt that there'll be millions eager to check out her latest offering, as safe as it may be.