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Don’t call it a comeback:

Last week Sade, the Nigerian-born singer whose song “Smooth Operator” has been a radio staple for a quarter-century, released “Soldier of Love” (Epic), her first album in 10 years, and it zoomed past all competition. It reached No. 1 with a remarkable 502,000 sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a better debut week than Jay-Z, U2 and Britney Spears had for their latest albums.

“Soldier of Love” has received strong reviews. But the album’s success also points to the consumer power and loyalty of older listeners, who helped make Susan Boyle’s album “I Dreamed a Dream” (Syco Music/Columbia) the second-best selling album of 2009. No. 1 was “Fearless” Taylor Swift (Big Machine).

“It’s easier to reach an older, more traditional consumer by using the old means of promotion,” said Carl Mello, buyer for Newbury Comics, a music and media chain in New England. “You can build awareness with younger people, but fewer of them will actually put their hand in their wallets and pay for it.”

“Soldier of Love,” Sade’s first No. 1 album in 24 years, runs contrary to prevailing sales trends. Her previous album, “Lovers Rock,” sold 370,000 copies in its first week in 2000. Since then overall album sales have dropped by more than 50 percent, and most artists have gotten used to the pattern of gradual sales erosion; Sade’s sales — at least for this first week — have increased significantly.

Sade is a straight beast!!! Kudos to her for making it rain all over the music game at the age of 51.




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