It’s been too long since there was a video that had someone hoovering, hasn’t it?…
Anthony Easton: Sweet and gentle; would love to sing this to any of the myriad of children that I might or might not have, as a baby, and then have them remind me of it when they are in their early 20s.
Jonathan Bogart: Beautiful, professional, poetic, and inert.
Martin Skidmore: This has a campfire acoustic reggae sound, and I’m not convinced that the slightly awkward rhythms work well with her smooth singing. I generally find her slick but boring, and one might hope this would disrupt that beneficially, but it doesn’t — it loses the slickness without adding any force or excitement.
Michaelangelo Matos: None of this “daddy” shit for Sade: she’s classy, damn it! So “Father” it is, and while it’s probably daring that the tune’s protagonist goes out and headhunts her some quality-looking DNA, mostly this reminds me how boring “classy” so often is, especially when put to reggae this bland.
John Seroff: Criticizing a good Sade song feels like criticizing a geode or a sunset; her sound is so established, personal and sui generis that if you’re a fan, you’re going to love it and if you’re not, I sure can’t talk you into it. Even if “Baby Father” is unlikely to turn out any new fans, it still finds Ms. Adu at her strongest: uncluttered, poetic, smoky, sinuous and gentle as a mama’s caress. I couldn’t tell you the last pop lullaby I enjoyed this much.
Alfred Soto: A loping quasi-reggae beat cushions the funny-sad story of a love child who’s a reminder of the father/lover who abandoned them. “Your daddy knows” the background vocals chant, to which Adu answers “you’re a flame”. It’s almost as devastating as the chorus fillip “Your daddy don’t come with a lifetime guarantee”. To listeners unaccustomed to anything but chic melancholy from Adu, this approach opens possibilities: counterpoint, irony, black humor. Docked a notch because the afterthought of a backing track closes them.
Chuck Eddy: My wife loves “Soldier Of Love” for some reason, just like everybody else in the world apparently, but I still find it a chore to sit through; lite Caribbean lilt here is much easier to take (and more up Sade’s alley, seems to me, not that I’m a Sade Alley expert.) Also, “Daddies don’t come with a lifetime guarantee” is true — and sad. So if those were the actual lyrics, I’d add a point.
Al Shipley: I almost feel like this song, having come out a matter of months after I became a father myself, should move me more, but the smile it brings to my face is enough.