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Révélé par les succès de « Killer » en 1988 puis « Crazy » trois ans plus tard, Seal est surtout connu par ici pour son duo avec Mylène Farmer ( « Les Mots »). 115 millions d'albums vendus plus tard, et l'échec du dernier, System, en 2007, le chanteur de soul britannique revient avec un album de reprises, contenant onze joyaux immaculés par les ans.
De son timbre voilé et caressant, il transcende des incunables de Sam Cooke ( « A Change is Gonna Come » en single), James Brown ( « It's a Man's Man's Man's World »), et d'autres canons du genre : « If You Don't Know Me By Now » (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes), « I Can't Stand the Rain » (Ann Pebbles), « Knock on Wood » (Eddie Floyd), ou « Stand By Me » (Ben E. King).
Aucune de ces chansons n'a de secret pour Seal qui se glisse avec aisance dans la peau des plus grandes voix de la soul, jusqu'à Otis Redding ( « I've Been Loving You Too Long »), Curtis Mayfield ( « People Get Ready ») et Al Green, par deux fois : « Free » et l'admirable « Here I Am ». Drapées dans un bel écrin par David Foster, gorgées de cuivres et de violons, ces onze perles ne trahissent nullement l'esprit originel des versions d'origine.
Soul emmène Seal au sommet du Top Albums français à l'approche de Noël, et ce n'est que mérité.
- Copyright 2015 Music Story
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"The Beginning" is the most appropriate title for the opening track on this album. This is a fabulous blend of dance, techno, pop, and soul with a slightly orchestral sound to it and aggressive driving rhythm. "Deep Water" is like two songs in one. The first half is a mellow slightly country-oriented number but odd changes occur in the middle and the song morphs into an odd but highly danceable song. Many are familiar with it but who can ever forget the haunting ambience of the U.K. number one hit "Crazy" with its driving rhythm, aggressive bass, dark stormy mood, and edgy production? There are so many awesome things about this incredible single that I just can't put any words into how astounding this song really is to do it any justice. Seal reached an early peak in his music with this awesome single and it was what made me a fan of his since then. If you are driving along a freeway in Chicago approaching downtown at full speed (without going over the speed limit of course!), put this song on at full volume and prepare for the musical experience of the year! Few songs have so much power like "Crazy" does. Even though "Crazy" is likely one of the strongest tracks on the CD, the other tracks on this album should not be lost in that song's shadow as every one is worth noting but some especially deserve the utmost listening. The other major hit from this album is the Adamski produced "Killer" which brought Seal into the spotlight with his awesome voice and the songs electrifying mood. Both "Crazy" and "Killer" got all the recognition that they deserved and are still very popular on the radio today. "Whirlpool" is acoustic ambient ecstacy with it's cloudy evening and laid back atmospherics and it's urban nighttime mood. The soulful, jazzy vibe of the song is impossible to resist being pulled into. I don't know what it is about this song but it makes me cry with positivitsm and joy. "Future Love Paradise" is a scorching rock number with a very atmospheric tone with a dark cloudy dreaminess to it and the result is another excellent song."Wild" is a wild classic with a very raw production to it and a very live sound to it. The chord changes are just awesome. "Show Me" is a very hauntingly beautiful ballad with a very dreamy atmosphere like the feel of the sun breaking through the clouds. The dark blue glowing magnum opus of this album is the final closer "Violet", the best song on the album besides "Crazy". This is a haunting, dark cloud ambient, and highly soulful mid-tempo ballad with small amounts of electronica and electronic beats and also if you haven't noticed, the ambient keyboards are courtesy of blossoming New Age Musician Mars Lasar who would go on to create some of the best New Age albums of all time such as "The Eleventh Hour" and "11:02" and the approaching atmospheres of those albums are quite noticeable on this track but let's not change the subject of this review. Play this song on a rainy evening when you're alone and just be prepared for a waterfall of tears. The beauty of "Violet" did just that for me. "Violet" is this good! The ending might sound like a sad ending with its mournful outro but it was just the ending of the first chapter and the beginning of the next one.
Seal's albums have generally been few and far between since this album came out but every one of them including his latest are all excellent albums and the wait between them is worth it. While his second album definitely rivals this one as his best, Seal, or anyone else in that matter, has never toyed with dance, pop, soul, and atmospherics the way he and his crew did on this album and it makes "Seal " a special gem that must be acquired as soon as possible. This album changed my life forever with it's artistic brilliance and atmospheres. Dance music doesn't get any better than it does on here. Seal's music has always been innovative and Seal continues to put out some of the best music of the times and his music has a special place in my CD collection. This album is about as perfect as an album can possibly get. Support Seal. Support real talent. Go and buy it today and buy it new even if it means spending the extra dollar! Enough said!
Thankfully it was the controversial ZTT production team, led by former Yes and Buggles man Trevor Horn, who signed up Seal, adn the rest is history. ZTT brought a heavy production technique to all the artists they worked with in the 80s and 90s -- you only have to listen to any Art of Noise record to hear the range of ideas they bring to bear when they have no artist but themselves to work on. Because of their weighty, almost Spector-like production layering, they selected only the strongest, most distinctive new artists for the label -- people like Grace jones, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Seal, who would shine through even Horn and Anne Dudley's editorial gloss.
We need also to mention the influence of Guy Sigsworth -- he of the bass in Bomb the Bass -- who co-wrote with Seal two of the stand-out tracks on this wonderful album: the stonking opener, 'The Beginning', and the beautiful finisher 'Violet'. I cannot write too highly of 'Violet' -- the percussion is simply gorgeous, starting off with a simple electronic beat and culminating in a full Latin chorus. (Any record featuring the marvellous Paulinho Da Costa is usually well worth the money.) But I'd love to know which film or TV programme the voice samples on this track come from. Any ideas?
Other outstanding tracks include 'Crazy' and a re-working of 'Killer' which features Yes's Trevor Rabin on guitar.
After recording this and his second album, it appeared that Seal could do no wrong. We just want you to record a few more, Henry.
"Crazy" received a lot of airplay, and is the easiest song to recognize with Seal's powerful vocals, strong beat, and wah-wah rhythm guitar. If it is the highpoint of the album, you don't have to go down very far to reach the other great songs. "Deep Water" is another strong performance. Seal sings over an acoustic guitar rhythm, with some slide soloing. "Whirlpool" is another acoustic bit with guitar and piano that focuses mostly on his voice. "The Beginning" and "Killer" have a dance flavor to them with the driving beat. All very good cuts.
This album is nothing more than a showcase for Seal's talent, especially his voice. His voice is smooth, yet powerful, and he is able to use it well.