Song: “Hang On To Your Love”
Album: Diamond Life (1984)
As elevator-R&B crept its way into mid-to-late 1980s radio, the exotic, glossy-toned Sade couldn’t have seized a better role than queen of the newborn genre. Oozing an unfound tropical vogue that could enchant any instrumental—jazz, pop, or otherwise, the singer’s unprocessed approach to vocals made her an essential in soft-pop’s revamp. And without really trying, Sade offered a hip, alternative to the fluffier, synth-dependent bulk comprising the decade’s Top 40.
Sade’s 1984 classic, Diamond Life, spotlights the mod songstress’ usual complements: thick and jazzy syncopation, au courant funk, and coolly-uttered romantic musings.
Upstaged by the EP’s more radio-rotated hits, (“Smooth Operator”, “Your Love is King”), the 6-minute “Hang On To Your Love” is the unsung paragon of ‘Sade-sleek’, a piano-licked jam with a lesson as self-explanatory as its title.
Opening with a sly, “in heaven’s name, why are you walkin’ away?…”, Sade, relationship-bystander, croons her sage advice:
“So if you want it to get stronger, you’d better not let go
You gotta hold on longer if you want your love to grow…
Gotta stick together, hand in glove
Hold tight, don’t fight…hang on to your love”
A sublime slice of Sade Adu-cool, the track continues to defy its three-decade time stamp.