The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
- Sade's sophomore release finally returns to the site with STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout
- With this pressing, you can finally recognize and appreciate what a lovely way Sade has with these smoldering songs of lost loves and bittersweet times past
- 4 stars: "Sade's second album improved on the performance of her debut . . . She was once again the personification of cool, laid-back singing, seldom extending or embellishing lyrics, registering emotion, or projecting her voice."
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Superb sound for this jazzy R&B Pop classic! You can dismiss this as pop fluff if that’s your thing, but there’s no denying the power of Sade’s sultry voice when you can actually hear it. All it takes is a top copy such as this to make her talents — and those of her bandmates — abundantly clear.
If you know this album at all you know that most pressings are just too damn dark. Sade herself is typically recessed in the mix and veiled; it takes an exceptional copy such as this one to make her voice both present and breathy.
You can be sure this album was a big hit at the audio shows back in the day; this music can really bring out the best in a stereo — especially on a killer copy like this one! We played a big stack of copies this week, and most of them just didn’t do it for us. Most lack transparency; most are recessed, with the sound stuck behind the speakers; and few of them really open up spatially the way the best can, showing you a huge room full of players with space surrounding each and every one of them.
Another quality we found wanting on many copies was rhythmic energy. Some pressings had it and some just laid there on the turntable. The best copies really bring out the percussion and bass; you find yourself moving with the music.
We love Sade, but she loses much of her charm on most pressings. (And these are all vintage import pressings. The reissues we used to sell and recommend back in the ’90s are really not competitive sonically with the early pressings in the least. Apologies to all concerned.)
What the Best Sides of Promise Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1985
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The Highs Are Key
This copy has the highs that are missing from so many of the pressings we heard. When you play this against most copies there is an extension to the top end that you don’t hear very often. Since this album is heavy on percussion, that difference is critical. The HARMONICS of the percussion are crucially important to this music. When they go missing it’s almost as if the music seems to slow down, a strange effect no doubt but a fairly common one with rhythmically dense music such as this. With an extended top end the sound is SWEET, not HARSH.
What We're Listening For on Promise
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Don’t Be Ashamed To Enjoy Yourself
Hey, part of the fun of audio is appreciating different sounds and different styles. Sure, we get a lot more out of Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, but if we played their records every week we’d be bored to death of them (and deaf) by now. There’s a lot going on here for audiophiles to appreciate — tight production, innovative arrangements, and, of course, lovely female vocals — so don’t let this music’s mainstream appeal turn you off. This is music worth listening to.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful originals.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
- Is It a Crime
- The Sweetest Taboo
- War of the Hearts vJezebel
- Mr. Wrong
- Never as Good as the First Time
- Tar Baby
AMG 4 Star Review
Sade's second album improved on the performance of her debut, as "Sweetest Taboo" was a huge hit and "Never as Good as the First Time" landed in both the R&B and pop Top 20. She was once again the personification of cool, laid-back singing, seldom extending or embellishing lyrics, registering emotion, or projecting her voice. This demeanor made her more desirable in the minds of many fans and was perhaps the ultimate misapplication of the notion of sophistication. But this album topped the pop charts and eventually went triple platinum.