Seal IV Seal
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- 1Get It Together03:59
- 2Love's Divine04:35
- 3Waiting For You03:39
- 4My Vision04:48
- 5Don't Make Me Wait04:31
- 6Let Me Roll03:52
- 8Where There's Gold05:12
- 9Loneliest Star04:05
- 10Heavenly... [Good Feeling]05:02
- 11Tinsel Town05:53
- 12Get It Together (Reprise)01:09
Info for Seal IV
All set to record what would become SEAL IV, the album's namesake ended up tossing a large number of tracks and returned to his London hometown to start anew after living in Los Angeles for 12 years. The result is a dozen songs with a gritty texture that better reflect the Paddington-born native's affinity for soul and reggae more so than prior work. Blessed with a burnished vocal style, Seal uses it to great effect whether he's growling out the intro to irresistible numbers like the swaggering 'Waiting for You' or sounding like a cross between Teddy Pendergrass and Bobby Womack on the party invitation 'Get It Together.' Longtime producer Trevor Horn keeps a steady hand on the rudder, executing a concise balance of lush orchestral arrangements and ethereal keyboards on songs ranging from the ambient lovemaking invitation 'Heavenly...(Good Feeling)' or the can't-miss slow jam 'Don't Make Me Wait.' Seal's considerable talents find him bouncing between sweeping epics such as the heavenly 'Love's Divine' and snappier fare like 'Let Me Roll,' where this prim and proper Brit gets to strike a good-natured, faux b-boy pose.
Seal, vocals, guitar, bass
Chris Bruce, guitar, bass
Tim Pierce, guitar
Gus Isadore, guitar
Tim Cansfield, guitar
Pete Murray, piano, keyboards
Mark Baston, keyboards, programming
Jamie Muhoberac, keyboards
Ian Thomas, drums
Earl Harvin, drums
Luis Jardim, percussion
Alan Griffiths, programming
Tessa Niles, background vocals
Produced by Trevor Horn
When Seal was a teenager in England, a new wave of American soul turned his head.
“I remember songs like ‘Love T.K.O.’ and ‘Wishing on a Star’ and ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ — I just remember those songs being so unique-sounding when they came on the radio,” he says. “They had a big impact on me, because they were just very different from a lot of R&B that we were hearing. They were huge influences on my life and my outlook on writing music when I was growing up.”
Seal pays loving homage to that vibrant time in his own musical life with Soul 2, his eighth studio album, bringing his immense talents and deep sensibilities to songs that were coming out of Detroit, Memphis and especially Philadelphia, a sound that in England became known as Northern Soul. Working with producer Trevor Horn (who launched Seal’s career and produced his first four albums) and on four songs David Foster (who produced Seal’s first foray into the classics catalog, the international hit 2008 album Soul, and 2010‘s Commitment), Seal at once internalizes and evokes the spirit of such musical giants as Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Smokey Robinson, Bill Withers, the Spinners and the O’Jays.
Recording was done in settings ranging from elaborate orchestra sessions to a few vocals performed in Horn’s garage. The result is a variety of inventive textures, maximizing the spirit of both the songs and the singer. Support came from a wealth of all-star musicians, including Horn on bass and guitar, Foster on keyboards, with orchestral and brass arrangements by Pete Murray, Julian Hinton and Foster.
Seal’s first Soul album captured, by-and-large, the spirit of the ‘60s, with songs of Sam Cooke (a glorious version of “A Change Is Gonna Come”), Otis Redding among others, selling 3 million copies worldwide and standing as the top-selling album of the decade in France. Soul 2 leans more to the ‘70s, digging deep into a time in which artists explored new heights of personal expression and cultural openness with equal measures of inventive creativity and populist immediacy. As a set it features love songs (the Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl,” Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby”), out-of-love songs (Pendergrass’ “Love T.K.O.,” Rose Royce’s “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”) and some that are both (the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around”).
And threading through it there are songs born of the shifting mores and cultural contours of the times that, in turn, helped define the era (Gaye’s iconic “What’s Going On,” the O’Jays’ angry “Backstabbers”). Where Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was the emotional center of the first Soul set, a bridge between the civil rights movement and the surge of social consciousness in the U.S. in the late ‘00s, such Soul 2 songs as Gaye’s indelible “What’s Going On” and Withers’ “Lean on Me” bridge their era with today’s uncertainties.
“It was something that we felt we wanted to do, but not in the typical way, so we went more for sort of connoisseurs’ choices rather than the obvious hits,” he says. “Essentially it’s an album of love songs. However it’s such as my habit that there has to be something that inspires me on a social-comment level and there has to be something that inspires me on a — it’s such an overused term, but on a spiritual level.”
As a set, they show a time that defies capsulizing and cliches, a time of complex emotions and issues. And it allows Seal to expand the range and talents he’s shown throughout his career, on such hits as his international Top 10 1990 debut “Crazy” and the 1995 U.S. No. 1 “A Kiss From a Rose,” which earned him Grammy Awards for song of the year, record of the year and best male pop vocal performance.
“When it came to making Soul 2 I decided not to go for the obvious hits, if you like, or more songs of that earlier period. Instead we went for songs that were popular in England when I was growing up and take a slightly different approach in terms of the actual sound, hence Trevor Horn’s involvement.”
Horn, also born and raised in England, shared Seal’s great affection for this material and brought in his sense for engaging musical tapestries that have fueled not just Seal but Yes (as both producer and member), Robbie Williams, Jeff Beck, Pet Shop Boys, Paul McCartney and many others.
This album contains no booklet.