Sade are the Halley’s Comet of music. They don’t come around often with new music but when they do, it’s a dazzling display of artistry. So when, after a seven year absence, rumors began to swirl about the slightest possibility that Sade would be contributing a new song for the soundtrack of the eagerly anticipated, Ava DuVernay directed film A Wrinkle in Time, music lovers across the globe were on high alert.
Initially released (or maybe leaked) online via producer No I.D., the track blazed ever so brightly ever so briefly before being quickly removed. With a running time of just under four minutes, the song feels a little too brief. Sade’s vocals are her trademark husky best. Alluring and captivating, they offer a quiet storm of comfort. With a simple, stripped back arrangement, Sade’s vocals float freely across the verses and then swoop around you in the chorus as she sings, “You smile / The stars align / Flower of the universe / Child of mine.”
The album version is very sparse, uncomplicated and elegant, if just a little underwhelming on first listen. On repeated airings, where expectations are jettisoned, you begin to appreciate the beauty in the simplicity.
Producer No I.D.’s remix aims to flesh out the song with a bit of atmospherics and a steady drum machine infused beat, but it feels like a bolted on addition rather than an accompaniment. The strong parts of the remix lay in the tom drum accents and the final minutes of mysterious synth swirls. You almost feel if he had just kept the song to these components (minus the too crisp sounding drum machine) it would have been the preferred mix.
Is ‘Flower of the Universe’ the Sade track we might have hoped for? Honestly, probably not. But it is a lovely enough song that we can be grateful for. And hopefully it is just the first glimpse of something even more spectacular on the horizon.