It was definitely a cassette. Music that I had to have in my possession. I was still in many ways riding the wave of Promise Sade’ 1985 release. “War Of The Hearts” and “Maureen” still found their way into the weekly rotation. New Sade? Oh yes, yes I had to have it. I made my way to the Wrecka Stow. The freedom of the teenage years can often seem an enigma to the “responsible” adult multiple decades into that life. That freedom did and does exist and it is vital to growth. I am grateful to have experienced it.

I arrived at the appointed destination. No need for a preview, find the S Section and make the purchase. Done. The car remained in the parking spot for a while as the lead single and eponymous title track “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” played. Haunting. Lush. Grown 🙂 Written by Sade Adu, Andrew Hale and Stuart Matthewman the tune literally hooks you with its first line “I won’t pretend, that I intend to stop living.” I’d say that’s a pretty live and direct way to start a convo. This music resonated with me. I think at that point in my life I figured I knew something about love. Something about heartache and heartbreak, I didn’t. What mattered and what matters is the learning, this was a soundtrack, a window if you will.

I often thought how arresting the rhythm track is for “Love Is Stronger Than Pride”. Distant tom-toms that serve in an almost thunder like background in the distance. Not a frightening thunder sound that’s up close, more like the sound of thunder as the storm has subsided moving out of your immediate area. The prominence of guitar and the chorus of ahhs are all there to support the lead vocal. In many ways “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” could be considered an audio metaphor whereby we(the listening audience) are the receivers of Sade’s lover’s lament and the drums represent the passion and pain of this moment. The guitar is the person closest to Sade who has advised her of what she needs to do and so those ideas are being presented along Sade’s own in real time. The chorus of ahhs are at once the sonic manifestation of pain and relief the “I still really love you…” with the concomitant inferred “but”.

That’s life. So I’ve learned. So I’m learning. Love is stronger than pride.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.