Sade’s “King of Sorrow” Lyrics Meaning

The song “King of Sorrow” by Sade is themed on an internal conflict taking place in the singer’s mind. Though she appears to be addressing two people in the song by mentioning ‘You’ and ‘I’, she is really talking to herself and brooding over the grief she feels.

Sade begins by saying that she has cried everyone’s tears, which could literally mean that she is mourning over the death of someone, or metaphorically, bearing an insurmountable pain. In the subsequent line however, the singer claims she died, which makes the meaning clearer.

The singer is grieving over the loss of her own self, probably a happier version of herself which existed before she got overwhelmed with certain occurrences in her life. She appears to be confused on how to properly deal with the situation, and realizes that a bowl of warm soup can do nothing to calm her troubled soul. Disappointed at the thought that all her troubles started within just a day, she wonders if she can by any means overcome her sorrowful state of mind.

The depression she faces is so strong that the singer contemplates walking away, (possibly suicide or just running away from her responsibilities). It is for this reason she questions if her future will be disappointed.

In another instance, she takes the blame for her sadness saying that she has paid for her sins in the future and no one can take her burden off from her. She however, continues to carry on with life, fulfilling her many responsibilities, but bearing in mind that things may never get better since she remains the “King of Sorrow”.

Sade probably uses King instead of queen to highlight the intensity of the gloominess she feels.

Lyrics of "King of Sorrow"

Writers of “King of Sorrow”

Sade Adu and teamed up with three others to compose this track. They are:

  • Paul S. Denman
  •  Stuart Matthewman
  • Andrew Hale

 The production of “King of Sorrow” is credited to Grammy Award winning British record producer Mike Pela. He worked on the song’s production along with the members of Sade.

Release Date of “King of Sorrow”

It came out in November 2000. It was actually the 2nd single the band released from their fifth album titled Lovers Rock.

This track was also included as part of the list of songs on Sade’s compilation album of 2011, dubbed, The Ultimate Collection.

Music Video

The official music video accompanying this Sade classic was shot in Porto Rico. Filming of the clip was directed by the seasoned film director, Sophie Muller, who has worked with the band on several of their music videos, including the video for “No Ordinary Love”.

Samples and Remixes

The tune was sampled by American rap icon, Ja Rule, in his 2001 song named, “Pain is Love (Skit)”. French hip-hop band, Sniper also included segments of this tune in their 2003 song, called, “Jeteur De Pierres”.

In 2006, bits of this song were incorporated into rap duo, Da BackWudz’s track, titled, “Same Song”.

A New York City based-ensemble, Fun Lovin’ Criminals performed a remix version of “King of Sorrow” in 2001.

Chart Performance of “King of Sorrow”

This track did not experience as much success as some of the band’s hit songs. In 2001, it could only manage a ranking at No.59 on the UK Singles chart. In the US, the song failed to get into the top 100 on the Billboard Hot 100.

1 Response

  1. Laylah says:

    Such an underrated and soulful song. It’s haunting and beautiful. I’ve even been guilty of overlooking it for years, until it kept popping in my head at a time I needed to process some deep emotions. This song is a balm for the soul.

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