The Ultimate Collection
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|1. Your Love Is King|
|2. Smooth Operator|
|3. Hang On To Your Love|
|4. The Sweetest Taboo|
|5. Is It A Crime|
|6. Never As Good As The First Time|
|8. Love Is Stronger Than Pride|
|10. Nothing Can Come Between Us|
See all 14 tracks on this disc
|1. Cherish The Day|
|3. By Your Side|
|6. King Of Sorrow|
|7. The Sweetest Gift|
|8. Solider Of Love|
|9. The Moon And The Sky|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
2011 two CD collection from the Pop/Jazz vocalist. This must-have career spanning compilation includes four new, never-before heard songs including a remix of "The Moon And The Sky" (featuring Jay-Z). The Ultimate Collection features 29 tracks total, 15 of which were not included on Sade's 1994 Best Of album.
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To set your expectations of what you will hear: If you've been listening to Sade past three decades on any previous CD release, your ear has been trained to expect Sade's voice to be in the front of the soundstage, just like if she were singing on stage in front of a band in a small club. When you play any of the tracks from this bastardized set, you will immediately notice that her vocals are buried and competing with the instruments, like she had been physically moved from the front of the stage to behind the drum kit. The volume of every track is REALLY loud, much louder than the older CD's, and quickly tiring to listen to.
If you're not familiar with the term "loudness compression": Go to Wikipedia and search "loudness wars". In that article, there is also a link to an excellent You Tube audio/video demonstration of this reprehensible practice, which is being propagated by bean-counter record company executives.
The technical explanation of loudness compression is the application of an increasingly high ratio of compression to the dynamic range of a particular recording, and then increasing the gain of the recording, until the peaks have reached maximum. In layman's terms, what this means is there are no longer any quiet or loud passages in the recording, EVERYTHING is at the same volume.
Basically, the iPod is responsible for the proliferation of this practice: When music is played back thru iPod earbuds in any environment where there is ambient noise present, by having the volume artificially jacked across the entire music spectrum, you can hear the content more clearly. However, when you listen to the same recording thru a home audio system, it literally sounds like the music is emanating from a megaphone. The "remastering" on this set is a classic example of this insidious process.
If you own any of the 2000 remasters, hang on to them, AND DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS SET!
For those of you who have listened or liked a Sade track but never purchased a full length cd your time of indecision is over. This stunning 2 cd collection features all her major singles and contains for the first time hits from Sade's last two albums "Lover's Rock" and "Soldier of Love." The songs are re-mastered and most of the tracks are full-length album versions and not radio-friendly edits that other artists are known to feature on a best of cd. (ie Madonna)
For the "Old or Loyal/Die-Hard Fan"
For those of us who have all her cds including her 1994 cd "The Best of Sade", this is still well worth purchasing.
The reason being, the FOUR NEW TRACKS: "Still in Love with You", "Love is Found " (this one could easily become a huge dance or club single), "I would never have Guessed" and a solid remix of "The Moon and the Sky" featuring Jay-Z.
Also included is a remix by the Neptunes of "By Your Side" which many of us would not have unless we had purchased the cd single back in the day.
What's missing to make this a 5 Star?
I only wished that the record company included a bonus 3rd cd of all her rare or remixed tracks(Both the official ones and the much coveted bootlegs). Imagine having on cd Ben Watt's "By Your Side" or the Mad Professor Remix of "Love is Stronger than Pride" or the House Remix of "Pearls"!!
This then would have been a definitive masterpiece, one that would target a larger music audience.
There is a 2 cd and 1 DVD version of "The Ultimate Collection" featuring all 15 of her videos that will be released next week on May 10th
Finally, if you live in the U.S count your blessings. At less than $10, this is a steal. Here in Canada, I paid $20 plus 15 % tax for the standard 2 cd version.
All the old songs are remastered, and I must point out that "Smooth Operator" is the edited version without the spoken intro, while "Cherish The Day" is the extended version with the instrumental coda same as on "The Best Of Sade" from 1994.
Two songs feature in their original form, as well as remixes: "The Moon And The Sky" remix is beat-heavy with a Trip Hop feel, and a rap from Jay-Z (which works surprisingly well), and the Neptunes Remix of "By Your Side" features more guitars pushed to the fore and a different groovy bassline.
There are three new recordings, including my favourite, the lilting guitar-driven "Still In Love With You" with languid vocals remniscent of "By Your Side". It is apparently a Thin Lizzy cover, but the band make it all theirs. Interestingly, this is the third cover the band have ever recorded, the others being "Why Can't We Live Together" off their debut, and "Please Send Me Someone To Love" for the movie "Philadelphia" and featured on the 1994 "Best Of".
The other new songs are "Love Is Found" which starts off haunting and similar to "Fear" off "Promise" before heavy beats and ragged/trilling guitars kick in, while "I Would Have Never Guessed" is a plaintive piano ballad. These new songs are a thrill coming just a year after "Soldier Of Love", especially when one remembers the decade-long wait between the last 3 albums.
An excellent overview of an extremely classy band.