Review Summary: The essential Seal album. A leader in its class.
The 1990's were a great decade for music. While the output wasn't akways consistent, it was undeniable that there was quality abound. Such is the case for Seal, an oddity himself in that his nationality is officially British, while his mother was Nigerian and his father Brazilian (and he himself was born in Nigeria). As such, Seal, having had this interesting background, would go on to sell several million records during the 1990's; this record being his most remembered one.
That is not to take off merit from the preceding album. For all that matters, both are excellent, showcasing this artist in his prime. However, this second recording is perhaps the bigger work of the two, given that he expands his songwriting further; resulting in a more complete musical journey.
The album kicks off with Bring it On
, a nice introduction to this magnificent record. Next, we are treated with Prayer for the Dying
, easily one of Seal's best songs. We also have Don't Cry
and Kiss From a Rose
, which are, once again, within the crème de la crème in Seal's work. Dreaming in Metaphors
and If I Could
are also fine tracks here. All the songs are ballads, but what makes them special is that they lack the sappyness that makes ballads from other artist look stupid. The lyrical depth and introspective nature of the music serves as more than enough to make almost anyone enjoy it.
Unlike such pop artists as Michael Jackson and Prince, Seal is hardly the upbeat or danceable type (remember, this was made in the 90's). Instead, he goes for a softer, melodic style, emphasizing a smooth groove, which serves his lyrics well. While his vocal rage is limited, it fits the music perfectly as well, which makes each listen a rather hypnotic experience. His music is not meant for parties at the disco, but for reflective listening. Nevertheless, his songs stick once you get a taste for them.
Indeed, it's fair to say that Seal is the best at what he does, and this album proves it very well. This isn't music for pop haters; or for lovers of exclusively upbeat music. This is an album for personal reflection. If you dig some refreshing pop, with deep lyrics, and ballads that don't feel sappy, this album is for you.