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Seal - Soul

Seal, Soul

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FOR his latest album, Grammy Award winner Seal has teamed up with renowned producer David Foster to deliver Soul, a collection of all-time classic soul songs given a fresh impetus by Seal.

“I’ve made a lot of records in my time, but I’ve never enjoyed the recording experience more than I have with Seal,” says Foster of the process. “I think he’s the only singer on the planet that could do this album, bringing something new and fresh to these classics, paying tremendous respect to their heritage, but at the same time owning them and making them uniquely Seal.”

It’s debatable whether Seal has pulled it off quite as well as Francis suggests – and besides, he would say that, wouldn’t he (he, he)?

But while some songs would have been better left alone (such as his take on James Brown’s It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World), there are some re-interpretations that stand up well to Seal’s vocal style.

None of the songs better the originals but there’s a certain amount of fun to be had in hearing him take on Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain, Al Green’s Here I Am (Come And Take Me) and – somewhat surprisingly – Otis Redding’s I’ve Been Loving To Long.

The latter, in particular, finds Seal in fine voice – not quite as empowering as Redding in his prime, but nonetheless inspiring in his own way.

While his take on Stand By Me is pretty decent too, channelling the memory of Ben E King in competent and very accomplished style.

Just occasionally, Seal seems to be trying too hard to give it everything… and the strain shows on songs such as Knock On Wood (covered better by The Commitments) and If You Don’t Know Me By Now (again, revisited better by Simply Red).

But thanks to some strong orchestration in the background and an infectious energy, Soul is an interesting album where the hits just about outweigh the misses.

Download picks: Here I Am, I Can’t Stand The Rain, Stand By Me, I’m Still In Love With You

Track listing:

  1. A Change Is Gonna Come
  2. I Can’t Stand The Rain
  3. It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World
  4. Here I Am (Come And Take Me)
  5. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
  6. It’s Alright
  7. If You Don’t Know Me By Now
  8. Knock On Wood
  9. I’m Still In Love With You
  10. Free
  11. Stand By Me
  12. People Get Ready