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Picks and Pans Main: Music

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Soldier of Love |


“I’ve lost the use of my heart/ But I’m still alive,” declares Sade, as if to announce her comeback on “Soldier of Love.” Indeed, the jazzy chanteuse mysteriously had seemed to have fallen off the face of the earth since her last studio album, 2000’s Lovers Rock. Perhaps in her world the past decade never happened, because her sound—and look—haven’t changed much: She’s still the epitome of cool elegance. (Hey, did you really want her to go electro?) From her husky, dusky vocals to Stuart Matthewman’s sexy sax, Sade and her bandmates get their smooth groove back. If anything, they’ve gotten even mellower with age. On oh-so-soothing songs like “In Another Time,” Sade remains the voice of comfort to the wounded heart. After all that time away, though, there’s only one real classic: the title-track single, with its martial beat, snare drums and Sade as warrior goddess.

Nick Jonas & the Administration

Who I Am | POP

Nick Jonas has let it be known that his first disc with the Administration does not signal the end of the Jonas Brothers. Still, this side project can’t help but make you think of Justin Timberlake‘s post-‘N Sync debut, Justified, after which JT never looked back. It reveals more maturity and soulfulness than we’ve heard from the youngest Jonas with the JoBros, confirming that he, their main songwriter, is the biggest talent in the group. Forget the conceptual references to the presidency and politics. Instead, listen to him stretch out with surprising twists of funk, R&B and blues backed by a band including Prince’s former New Power Generation sidemen Michael Bland (on drums) and Tommy Barbarella (on keyboards). The highlight? “Olive & an Arrow,” a ballad on which the 17-year-old makes like a junior John Mayer.