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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Diamond Life

Sade

1984

Diamond Life
Album Summary

Diamond Life is the debut studio album by English band Sade, released in the United Kingdom on 16 July 1984 by Epic Records and in the United States on 27 February 1985 by Portrait Records. After studying fashion design, and later modelling, Sade Adu began backup-singing with British band Pride. During this time Adu and three of the original members of "Pride"—Paul Anthony Cook, Paul Denman and Stuart Matthewman—left the group to form their own band called Sade. After various demos and performances, Sade received interest from record labels and signed to Epic. Recording for the album began in 1983 at Power Plant Studios in London and took six weeks to complete. The album's content was written by the group Sade and the production was handled by Robin Millar. Fifteen songs were recorded. The album contained a variety of musical elements including soul, jazz and sophisti-pop, mostly with love lyrics. The album spawned four singles, including "Your Love Is King" and "Smooth Operator". Music critics acclaimed Diamond Life and it was also a commercial success, winning the 1985 Brit Award for Best British Album. The album reached number two on the UK Albums Chart and number five on the US Billboard 200, and has been certified multi-platinum in both countries. Diamond Life sold over 10 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the top-selling debut recordings of the era and the best-selling debut album by a British female vocalist, a record that stood for 24 years.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.29

Votes

10468
Genres
Soul
Pop

Reviews

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Fri May 07 2021
1

I had a visceral reaction to this album, like a child revoking after touching a hot stove for the first time. I was driving faster on my way to work as if I could outrun the music. It feels like robots. It feels like lies. It’s like a nice glassy wrapped package that someone left empty. It has all the heart of the incidental music of a summertime Hallmark movie. Hopefully I won’t cross paths with this album again.

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Fri Sep 17 2021
2

Generic ass middle of the road, nauseatingly smooth and uninspiring jazz sung with a boring vocal performance, what am I missing here? Best part is obviously the instrumentals, they carry Sade hard.

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Sat Mar 26 2022
1

I feel an uncontrollable, visceral revulsion for almost every element of this. It's canned, bland, and impossible to stand. I can't discern any semblance of genuine human emotion from it. The sounds are flat and textureless, the songs plod along interminably, and the lyrics seem like they were written by a concussed android. Whether they're celebrating promiscuity and duplicitousness, as in 'Smooth Operator', or criticising it in 'Frankie's First Affair', (it's genuinely hard to tell), they are abject with an almost impressive uniformity.

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Tue Jul 05 2022
1

Too smooth. Yuck. Like a barbie crotch.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Wow. Now I know why people love Sade. Absolute banger of an album.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
5

Surprised by how much i loved it.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Absolute banger. Sax for days.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
5

I wasn't expecting to be as into this album as I am. It's so smooth, funky, and jazzy. The musicianship is fantastic and Sade's vocals are phenomenal as well. The drums and bass are locked in and are doing really interesting lines and rhythms in the background. This is a marvelously produced album and is sequenced and mixed very well. In retrospect, it makes total sense that I love this album as I love funk and jazz. I was expecting something more dated I think.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

perf combination of old and new soul and jazz. sade has been a huge influence to so many modern artists with a fresh take on this style of music. this album is so easy and nice to listen to. pretty romantic n smooth 💓💞💓💞💓truly iconic

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Beautiful. So much soul with such a unique and fresh take on soulful jazz vocals. Def right up my alley

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Tue Mar 28 2023
4

I'm always hesitant to use the phrase 'You just don't get it' to bash negative criticism of a work I enjoy, especially when the work is not exactly hard to 'get', but unfortunately I find myself in need of this argument when talking about Diamond Life. The reviews for this page are filled to the brim of complaints that this record is 'generic, 'uninspired' or 'artificial. 'Music for people that don't actually care about music' is a sentiment I see shared by people who will then give positive scores to the fucking Foo Fighters with no sense of irony. I have no issue with disliking this album of course, but if you think these descriptors apply to any part of this album you straight up don't know what makes good pop music and probably shouldn't act like an authority on the subject. This album simply epitomizes the word 'cool', everything about it is the smoothest of the smooth with its funky jazz instrumentals and Sade's sensual voice. Sade really is the perfect singer for this kind of music, she feels sort of like she's been designed in a lab to perfectly accompany this kind of easy listening jazz pop. Whilst this sounds on paper like it would create a nightmarishly bland LP the likes of which Michael Bolton and Bryan Adams could never hope to record, every track is full of soul and makes you feel like you're living an episode of Miami Vice (which is really what this kind of music should do). Rather than reveling in the artifice of many contemporary pop records, Diamond Life is a record that perfectly weaponizes subtlety to make the biggest impact on the listener it possibly can. It really makes you want to gaze across a neon cityscape, smoking a cigarette on an apartment balcony whilst reminiscing about a lost lover. Artificial is honestly the last word I would use to use to describe the music on this record, the emotion is oozing from every second of every track and quite frankly I would be surprised if anyone calling these tracks hollow was even attempting to meet them on their level. Its much more fun to sneer than give a chance to a work you happen to be apprehensive about. Therefore I have to assume the reason people attack this album is that they quite simply hear something that slightly resembles easy listening or Yacht Rock, and immediately assume it sucks without actually *listening* to how the music sounds. I hate easy listening too, but even I could tell this album rocks after just the first track! Its especially egregious to me with how obviously this genre of music crosses over with City Pop, which I can only imagine gets a free pass from people because of the perceived exoticism in listening to Japanese music (not shitting on City Pop for the record, check out Fly-day Chinatown when you get the chance) So ignore all of the screeching ignorance found in these 1 star reviews and go into this with an open mind, ideally at night and drift in Sade's world of sensuality and subtle melancholy. Then listen to everything else Sade has made. Its nothing but home runs for their entire discography, but Diamond Life is certainly a standout in that illustrious company. Highlights: Smooth Operator, Hang On To Your Love, Cherry Pie, Sally

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Mon Oct 26 2020
5

Timeless album. Not sure I will ever get tired of this one. First three songs are perfect, although I would prefer the US version of Smooth Operator to the UK version (on Spotify).

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Mon Jan 24 2022
1

Like being stuck in a hotel lobby in the 1980s.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
4

Un album très agréable à écouter. J'ai particulièrement apprécié le moment où Sade chante ♫ Shine bright like a diamond life, shine bright like a diamond life, We're beautiful like diamonds life in the sky ♫. Très sympa.

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Tue Sep 13 2022
1

Bloody awful. Music for people who don't actually listen to music - they just like something on while they're hosting a dinner party.

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Tue Sep 28 2021
1

Really not my thing at all. Feels very corporate and slick.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
1

I tried to ignore my preconceptions about this album. Turns out they were right, utter shite.

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Tue Jun 28 2022
1

I'm trying so hard to approach this album objectively and failing. British sophisti-pop is possibly the most obnoxious genre of music ever created and Sade is the epitome of the genre. I found nothing redeeming in this album. The vocals are lazy, the melodies are sleazy, the lyrics are insipid, and DEAR GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SAXOPHONE SOLOS. "Diamond Life" is absolutely infested with saxophone solos and it's not good. It's not good at all. I hated literally every moment of this album.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
5

Fantastic album, smooth, funky, a pining and loving masterpiece. Possibly the best album so far.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

Sade is such a phenomenal singer. This is a lovely jazz pop album.

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Mon Feb 06 2023
4

I am fairly certain that I or at least one of my siblings was conceived to this album so I haven't really listened to it before this 🌚

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Sun Jan 14 2024
4

No. 97/1001 Smooth Operator 5/5 Your Love Is King 5/5 Hang On to Your Love 4/5 Frankie's First Affair 4/5 When Am I Going To Make A Living 4/5 Cherry Pie 3/5 Sally 3/5 I Will Be Your Friend 3/5 Why Can't We Live Together 3/5 Average: 3,78 Really smooth album, loved her voice. Just lacked some musical diversity and some songs were a bit too long.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
3

Boring adult contemporary music. Better than I thought it was going to be, but I'm writing this 10 minutes after I finished listening, and I remember almost nothing about it. Best track: Why Can't We Live Together

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Mon Mar 01 2021
3

I listened to this on Friday, all I remember is r&b and not much else

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Fri Dec 24 2021
2

If you did the lounge-y rhythms are dated you'd be half right. Bust them out now and they'd sound pretty rote, but that doesn't mean they aren't snazzy. The downer isn't the bongos, it's the description to boilerplate ratio, which (BS statistic coming up) is something like 3:7. More Sally, less Cherry Pie.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
2

bland generic smooth jazz. feel like I spent the last 45 minutes in an elevator

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Mon Mar 28 2022
2

This album ultimately just didn't impress me. The vocals weren't very strong, the lyrics were kinda boring and the music faded into the background as "muzak" or cocktail lounge-y

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Mon Feb 22 2021
1

smooth operator is a catchy tune. beats are pretty neat for 84, but grating cheesy lyrics won out. 2 minutes into frankie, i turned my stereo off from the toilet and finished shitting in silence.

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Mon Jan 24 2022
1

If you like the sound of Casio keyboard and drum sounds together with alto saxophone solos and a smooth vocal then this album is for you. I've seen this described as sounding like elevator music and that's probably about right. It amazes me people actually bought this (I'm pretty sure my sister had this in her cd collection). Why, is beyond me. I guess smash hits or just 17 gave it a rave review? And I suppose the cover is quite cool in an art noir kind of way. Um, yeah, not really my bag. Is that 1000 words yet?

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Thu Feb 01 2024
1

Utter shite. This album kicks off with the very forgettable "Smooth Operator" and gets progressively worse throughout. Shit songwriting. It's that simple. Long, poorly-crafted songs. Everything on this record - from Sade's goofy vocals, to the dull persuasion, and the soppy saxophone bollocks - is fucking terrible. This is one of those embarrassing 80s albums. 👎👎

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Tue Nov 24 2020
5

a perfect picture of the eighties and a solid collection of songs

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Música de tono medio; voz agradable de escuchar, muy melodiosa; bien acompañada por una buena banda; vocaliza bien; no interrumpe los pensamientos. Otros: Quincy Jones; Roberta Flack; George Michael; The Isley Brothers; Barry White; Donny Hathaway; Grace Jones; George Benson; Randy Crawford

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Ahhh.. Good old smooth op... :)

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Fri Jul 23 2021
5

This was rad, I would like to put this on again.

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Tue Sep 28 2021
5

Oh man. Silky-smooth sexy vocals over a funky, chill background? Yes, please. More, thanks.

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Sat Nov 13 2021
5

Bought this on vinyl when it was first released way back in 1984. Awesome album and the production is stunning.

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Sat Dec 04 2021
5

Always been a fan, a must listen.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
5

It was great look into the smooth jazz of the 80’s. I’d heard of Smooth Operator but I never knew the actual song.

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Thu Jan 13 2022
5

A superb album. I do love Sade.

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Tue Feb 15 2022
5

A smooth operator. Beautiful album.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

First great album, it brings back memories of listening to Sade as a kid with my parents This is real 80s music for me, amazing voice, amazing vibes amazing mix of genres 5/5

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Tue Mar 29 2022
5

super cool album, I’m a sucker for 80s pop like this, Anita Baker, Madonna, Mariya Takeuchi and Miki Matsubara are some of my other favorites - 10/10

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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Love it, jazzy pop songs. Right up my alley, would definitely listen to again.

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Tue Apr 19 2022
5

I could seriously listen to Sade all day long.

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Wed May 11 2022
5

Stylish, soulfully smooth, musically flawless, timeless album. I love every song on it. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): Your Love Is King, Hang On to Your Love, Smooth Operator, Cherry Pie, I Will Be Your Friend, Why Can't We Live Together, When Am I Going to Make a Living, Sally, Frankie's First Affair

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Thu May 26 2022
5

Really liked it! I'd never heard of Sade before and I found some new gems.

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Fri May 27 2022
5

So very good. Sade's voice is amazing and this entire album is a masterclass in storytelling. Great stuff.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
5

An absolute masterpiece. Sade was a god of this shit.

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Tue Jun 14 2022
5

Sade’s music is so damn cool. So damn sexy and so damn well made. I enjoyed this album from back to front. Excellent listen!

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Mon Jul 11 2022
5

As smooth as a fine scotch. I can’t get enough of her smoky voice. “Smooth Operator” has slowly worked its way up my list of favorite songs over the years. Any time I hear a cover of it on the radio or in a department store, the song makes me happy. And the original is incredibly seductive and sultry. The opening 1-2-3 punch of “Smooth Operator,” “Your Love is King” and “Hang On to Your Love” is really impressive and the record continues with a string of very strong album tracks. I’m loving this.

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Mon Jul 18 2022
5

Always fantastic. simple and groovy.

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Tue Jul 26 2022
5

This album deserves 5 stars almost solely for Smooth Operator, fucking dynamite. And the smooth jams just keep on coming. Fantastic voice, and everything works together well, they found a sweet spot with this one, that despite sounding somewhat 80's transcends the decade because it's borrowing from other eras and the quality is high.

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Sun Aug 07 2022
5

I didn't expect to give this five stars but then I listened to it and here we are.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

One of the essential 80s romantic albums, with slightly melancholic undertones and that certain touch of neon. Close your eyes to this and you will see inner city streetlights and neon signs flashing by, hear the rustle of dimly-blue-lit satin sheets in a bedroom illuminated by a skyline through flowing white curtains. You get the picture. This album does too. Smooth Operator is an undisputable 80s classic. Pretty strong, considering it's Sade's debut.

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Sun Oct 16 2022
5

Adore her and her voice. Background story about her is way more interesting than most people would assume because of her stunning looks. She worked incredibly hard to have the success she had. Great song choice here. She knocks it out of the park.

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Tue Nov 08 2022
5

One word sums it up: EXQUISITE. This crossed over multiple hits lists, hitting so many categories.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
5

Sublime, smooth, soothing and interesting. Everything I wanted to hear as an introduction to r&b. Happy this came into my life :)

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Sun Dec 04 2022
5

som relax, ótimo para ocasiões especiais

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Thu Dec 08 2022
5

Мне кажется этот альбом не нуждается в описании. Несомненная классика , Sade восхитительна, шикарная женщина с замечательным альбомом. 100/100

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Tue Jan 10 2023
5

Wow. Can't believe I've never thought to listen to this album considering how much of a staple Smooth Operator is in Ric's. What a masterpiece. So much big sax.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
5

What a great album. The saxophone in the first few songs goes so hard. My favorite so far for sure. The time signature stuff in Frankie’s Affair has me confused and I wanna get to the bottom of it lol. Favorite song is Love Is King.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

Beautiful. I can & have listened to hours if Sade. Her voice is soft velvet.

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Mon Jan 30 2023
5

Was für eine coole Music und dann diese sanfte Stimme dazu. Fast vergessen, aber immer noch großartig. Muss man sich wieder einmal öfters anhören. Diese Platte ist ebenfalls ein Meilenstein.

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Mon Feb 06 2023
5

Absolutely slaps this so smooth and just no skips

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Wed Feb 08 2023
5

This is a great palate cleanser after the Kanye album and pairs well with the group project as far as fully-formed and fantastic debuts that stand the test of time. An 80s album that doesn't sound like the 80s. A birthing ground for neo-soul. Smooth without being saccharine. Beyond tasteful: it's delicious.

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Fri Feb 10 2023
5

one of the greatest albums ever

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Fri Feb 24 2023
5

music for the soft and sensual sex

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Fri Mar 03 2023
5

A good mixture of funk, pop and soul. The lyrics could be abit repetitive but doesn’t stop it from being a top album. 9/10

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Tue Mar 07 2023
5

This is so smooth. In addition to the more well-known favorites, "Cherry Pie" was great.

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Tue Mar 07 2023
5

Wow! Now this is more like it! Beautiful!

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Fri Mar 17 2023
5

Amazing! Love Sade’s vocals.

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Tue Mar 21 2023
5

Huge album when in high school. I may know every word to every song. We were taking about her this weekend.

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Thu Mar 23 2023
5

What a fantastic album. It is funky and smooth and it feels like I have to be doing some kind of physical activity while listening to it like dancing. Absolutely amazing to hear for the first time.

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Mon Mar 27 2023
5

”Diamond Life” by Sade is a masterpiece that effortlessly blends together elements of jazz, soul, and pop to create a smooth and seductive sound that is unmistakably her own. From the opening notes of "Smooth Operator," it's clear that Sade is a force to be reckoned with. Her sultry voice floats over a bed of lush instrumentation, drawing the listener in and never letting go. Tracks like "Your Love Is King" and "Cherry Pie" showcase her ability to deliver soulful, heartfelt performances that are both intimate and powerful. The album's production is equally impressive, with a seamless mix of live instrumentation and electronic elements that add depth and texture to each song. The arrangements are meticulously crafted, with each instrument given its moment to shine while still supporting the overall groove and mood of the track. This album is sure to leave you feeling captivated and transported thanks to its timeless sound and Sade's impeccable artistry.

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