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Vocal Jazz - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca (UMO)

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It’s always some kind of baptism of fire. Not a prerequisite but a way to measure oneself to one’s colleagues from yesterday and today. With the aptly named Standards, his tenth studio album, Seal climbs the Everest of the great jazz and swing classics. After three decades, the Brit doesn’t have anything to prove anymore about the soul quality of his voice. But this retro-flavored enchanted digression reminds us of how this powerful and sultry organ can master any repertoire. Recorded for the most part in the famous Capitol studios in Los Angeles, precisely where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole and many others have recorded some of their greatest discs, Standards has incidentally been created with the help of musicians that have assisted these great voices. We find pianist Randy Waldman (Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka), bass player Chuck Berghofer (Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles) and drummer Greg Fields (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder), all gathered so that Seal would give his reinterpretations of Autumn Leaves, I Put A Spell On You, Love For Sale, My Funny Valentine, I've Got You Under My Skin, Smile, I'm Beginning To See The Light and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. “This is the album I have always wanted to make, explains the concerned party. I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream. It was a true honour to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favourite artists, in the very same studios where the magic was first made – it was one of the greatest days of my recording career.” We can easily imagine that… © CM/Qobuz
£10.99

Soul - Released November 8, 2004 | Warner Bros.

Reusing the cover from his 1994 self-titled release -- as opposed to his 1991 or 2003 self-titled release -- makes Seal's discography all the more confusing, but that's the only mistake made on this glorious collection. Seal's partnership with producer Trevor Horn has yielded some of the most elegantly soulful and richly textured pop music of the preceding 20 years. Best: 1991-2004 picks and chooses from their output perfectly, orders it in a way that makes sense, and remembers a couple compilation and soundtrack appearances to make itself worthwhile for Seal's faithful. If you've owned a radio at sometime in the past two decades, a quarter of the disc will be familiar. But radio's compressed delivery of "Crazy," "Kiss From a Rose," and others don't do these grand songs justice; plus, anytime you can put a Trevor Horn production on the headphones is a rewarding experience. The songs from the lesser Seal IV come off much stronger in these surroundings, and the inclusion of a bunch of album tracks you forgot about but shouldn't have speaks to the compilers' keen understanding of Seal's career. The new recording of Bacharach-David's "Walk On By" is sweet, fair, and no disappointment, but it's Seal's take on Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" or Echo & the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar" that proves him an great interpreter of other's tunes and able to shine without Horn's help (the positive and empowering "My Vision" is the third and final track without Horn). The greatness of Seal's first two albums keeps the collection from being "the only Seal CD you'll ever need." Instead, Best: 1991-2004 is a fantastic overview of a hit-or-miss artist that soars when he's got the right material. This is all the right material and an unquestionable success. ~ David Jeffries
£13.99

Pop - Released November 27, 2009 | Warner Bros.

Following Seal’s first compilation by five years, Hits covers much of the same ground as Best: 1991-2004: a whopping ten of its 18 songs are also on Best, including every one of his big hits (“Kiss from a Rose,” “Crazy,” “Killer,” “Prayer for the Dying”), with the remaining eight tracks including two new cuts bookending the album and singles released since Best. This makes it more comprehensive and complete than Best, but casual fans can be excused for thinking that there’s not much difference between the two compilations for the very fact that Seal hasn’t had many big hits since 2004, with not a single single crossing over into the American Top 40 (“Amazing” and “The Right Life” appeared on the dance charts, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” on the adult contemporary). So, anybody who already has Best: 1991-2004 will not be tempted by this, but anyone in the market for a Seal hits collection will find this generous and enjoyable. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£17.99
£15.49
7

R&B - Released November 6, 2015 | Warner Bros.

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After the global successes of Kiss From a Rose, Love’s Divine, and Crazy, the British soul legend Seal continues to maintain his exemplary vocal standards on his new album, 7. Staying true to himself, love remains the chief preoccupation for Seal on this instalment; this noble sentiment has proven an endless source of inspiration for the singer throughout his storied career. His powerful, hushed voice continues to be the perfect instrument to treat his amorous subject with. The deep complicity that Seal has with his producer, Trevor Horn, continues to work sonic wonders. The compositions on 7 possess a certain steaminess, which, when coupled with Seal’s vocal range, give extremely listenable results. An unexpected pleasure. © LG/Qobuz
£10.99

Pop - Released October 31, 2008 | Warner Bros.

£13.99

Soul - Released May 31, 1994 | Warner Bros.

Fresh from his 1991 self-titled debut, Seal followed with another self-titled release. And true to form, it's another stunning work, although it becomes clear that a musical maturation has taken place. Produced by ex-Buggles frontman Trevor Horn (Pet Shop Boys, ABC, Yes, Frankie Goes to Hollywood), Seal is far more enchanting than his debut. True, Seal is a bit too relaxed at times, but aside from that criticism, the record is lush with harmonies and over-the-top melodies. "Don't Cry" flows with the luxuriant vibes of a hushed vocal and a bellowing string arrangement. Seal showcases his collaborative talent with "If I Could," a duet featuring Canadian folkie Joni Mitchell. "Kiss from a Rose" and "Prayer for the Dying" established Seal as a household name after both became radio and television mainstays. The soul is there, hauntingly similar to singer Terence Trent D'Arby. But what's so unique about Seal is his gift of transforming free-flowing songs into quick dancefloor tracks with a transcendent step into musical magic. His voice has a spell like that, and his second album reflects such skills. ~ MacKenzie Wilson
£11.99

Pop - Released September 10, 2010 | Reprise

£11.99

Pop - Released June 11, 1991 | Warner Bros.

£18.49

Pop - Released November 27, 2009 | Warner Bros.

Following Seal’s first compilation by five years, Hits covers much of the same ground as Best: 1991-2004: a whopping ten of its 18 songs are also on Best, including every one of his big hits (“Kiss from a Rose,” “Crazy,” “Killer,” “Prayer for the Dying”), with the remaining eight tracks including two new cuts bookending the album and singles released since Best. This makes it more comprehensive and complete than Best, but casual fans can be excused for thinking that there’s not much difference between the two compilations for the very fact that Seal hasn’t had many big hits since 2004, with not a single single crossing over into the American Top 40 (“Amazing” and “The Right Life” appeared on the dance charts, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” on the adult contemporary). So, anybody who already has Best: 1991-2004 will not be tempted by this, but anyone in the market for a Seal hits collection will find this generous and enjoyable. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£16.99

Pop - Released November 3, 2008 | Warner Bros.

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Although he worked in funk and blues bands early in his career, Seal is by no means a classic soul singer. He's been virtually everything else, starting with house music in his native London, and later turning to various flavors of adult contemporary and pop music. But the power and sincerity of his voice is indisputably great, which makes him a natural to sing soul music -- where passion and conviction are prerequisites. Soul, his tribute album to the great soul songs of all time, is a sincere, well-considered affair, which comes as a small surprise considering the usual type of tribute album (with an easy-to-market concept and an easy-to-digest list of songs). It's the height of ambition not only to cover "A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke's landmark of hopeful triumphalism, but to place it as the opening song. Seal's version isn't exactly innovative, but he carries it over well. His other choices fall into either of two slots: the inspirational ballad or the sensual love song. Examples of the former come with Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" (another civil rights anthem to place alongside "A Change Is Gonna Come"), James Brown's turgid "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," and Ben E. King's "Stand by Me." (The last is the only unwise song selection; it's practically impossible to wring anything new out of that standard.) The other category, the sensual love song, includes Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," two of Al Green's hits, and one from the Philly soul canon ("If You Don't Know Me by Now"). What makes Soul an overall success isn't just Seal's caressing vocals and obvious knowledge of how to interpret these songs faithfully without drifting away; it's the subtle yet effective production work of 15-time Grammy-winning producer David Foster. Although his work of the 2000s for Michael Bublé and Josh Groban wasn't going to instill hope in the hearts of listeners, he does plenty of good work here, with earthy, organic arrangements and funky beats that are slightly clipped for a contemporary feel. Wisely, he fills in just a few of the portions of each song, relying on most listeners' familiarity with these classics to fill in the gaps. ~ John Bush
£11.99

Pop - Released June 12, 2009 | Warner Bros.

Released in 2009, Soul: Live is the third live album from English singer/songwriter Seal, following Live in Paris and One Night to Remember. Recorded during his tour to promote his critically acclaimed Soul covers album from the previous year, it features nine of its 12 tracks, including faithful renditions of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come," Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," and James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," alongside two of his biggest '90s hits, "Crazy" and "Kiss from a Rose." ~ Jon O'Brien
£13.99

Soul - Released November 17, 1998 | Warner Bros.

U.K. pop sensation Seal has become notorious for taking extended breaks between albums (usually up to four years). On his third album, Human Being, producer Trevor Horn again joins Seal, and as on his past releases, life's trials and tribulations are used as the basis for the song's subject matter and lyrics (broken relationships, death, etc.). Horn again helps Seal achieve an unbelievably sonically rich album -- with each listen, you hear something you didn't before. The moderately paced, grooving opening track, "Human Beings," merges Seal's trademark soothing and crooned vocals with lyrics that deal with the highly publicized deaths of gangsta rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.. Directly after, three instant Seal classics follow -- the gentle "State of Grace" and "Just Like You," plus the dance-rocker "Latest Craze." Other highlights include the ethereal beauty of "Still Love Remains," the gradually building "Excerpt From," and the moving "Colour." Although Seal fans might grow impatient with such long breaks between albums, the pop perfection of Human Being turns out to be well worth the wait. ~ Greg Prato
£15.99

Vocal Jazz - Released November 10, 2017 | Decca (UMO)

It’s always some kind of baptism of fire. Not a prerequisite but a way to measure oneself to one’s colleagues from yesterday and today. With the aptly named Standards, his tenth studio album, Seal climbs the Everest of the great jazz and swing classics. After three decades, the Brit doesn’t have anything to prove anymore about the soul quality of his voice. But this retro-flavored enchanted digression reminds us of how this powerful and sultry organ can master any repertoire. Recorded for the most part in the famous Capitol studios in Los Angeles, precisely where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole and many others have recorded some of their greatest discs, Standards has incidentally been created with the help of musicians that have assisted these great voices. We find pianist Randy Waldman (Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka), bass player Chuck Berghofer (Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles) and drummer Greg Fields (Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder), all gathered so that Seal would give his reinterpretations of Autumn Leaves, I Put A Spell On You, Love For Sale, My Funny Valentine, I've Got You Under My Skin, Smile, I'm Beginning To See The Light and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow. “This is the album I have always wanted to make, explains the concerned party. I grew up listening to music from the Rat Pack era, so recording these timeless tunes was a lifelong dream. It was a true honour to collaborate with the same musicians who performed with Frank Sinatra and so many of my favourite artists, in the very same studios where the magic was first made – it was one of the greatest days of my recording career.” We can easily imagine that… © CM/Qobuz
£13.99

Soul - Released February 17, 2009 | Warner Bros.

£13.99

Pop - Released November 4, 2011 | Reprise

On 2008's Soul, Seal went through the '60s soulbook with the assistance of producer David Foster. For its 2011 sequel, Seal moves on a decade and brings in Trevor Horn to helm its 11 tracks (sometimes in conjunction with Foster and his cohort Jochem van der Saag), a result that perhaps freshens proceedings up a bit but doesn't change them markedly. Soul 2 remains a faithful re-creation of classic soul, Horn applying a new coat of paint to the original arrangements, ensuring that this is a fresh, glistening environment for Seal. The singer doesn't pop against this backdrop, he blends into his surroundings, sounding as immaculately tailored as the instrumentation, never pushing the tunes away from the melodies you know by heart. While that might not make for especially compelling listening, it's certainly pleasant either as nostalgia or as high-end lifestyle music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
£10.99

Pop - Released September 9, 2003 | Warner Bros.

£10.99

Pop - Released August 12, 2003 | Warner Bros.

£13.99

Pop - Released November 8, 2004 | Warner Bros.

Reusing the cover from his 1994 self-titled release -- as opposed to his 1991 or 2003 self-titled release -- makes Seal's discography all the more confusing, but that's the only mistake made on this glorious collection. Seal's partnership with producer Trevor Horn has yielded some of the most elegantly soulful and richly textured pop music of the preceding 20 years. Best: 1991-2004 picks and chooses from their output perfectly, orders it in a way that makes sense, and remembers a couple compilation and soundtrack appearances to make itself worthwhile for Seal's faithful. If you've owned a radio at sometime in the past two decades, a quarter of the disc will be familiar. But radio's compressed delivery of "Crazy," "Kiss From a Rose," and others don't do these grand songs justice; plus, anytime you can put a Trevor Horn production on the headphones is a rewarding experience. The songs from the lesser Seal IV come off much stronger in these surroundings, and the inclusion of a bunch of album tracks you forgot about but shouldn't have speaks to the compilers' keen understanding of Seal's career. The new recording of Bacharach-David's "Walk On By" is sweet, fair, and no disappointment, but it's Seal's take on Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" or Echo & the Bunnymen's "Lips Like Sugar" that proves him an great interpreter of other's tunes and able to shine without Horn's help (the positive and empowering "My Vision" is the third and final track without Horn). The greatness of Seal's first two albums keeps the collection from being "the only Seal CD you'll ever need." Instead, Best: 1991-2004 is a fantastic overview of a hit-or-miss artist that soars when he's got the right material. This is all the right material and an unquestionable success. ~ David Jeffries
£4.49

Pop - Released April 14, 2009 | Warner Bros.

This EP explores the full range of Seal's talents, and might even be worth considering as a second Seal purchase. There are a few versions of "Killer," including a clubby Trevor Horn remix that highlights Seal's tendency toward dance-pop. There is also a live version of the single, followed by a cover of "Hey Joe." It is not as strong as his version of "Manic Depression" that appeared on the Stone Free Jimi Hendrix tribute album, but it does remind the listener of the debt that Seal constantly acknowledges to Hendrix. The real gem of the EP is the non-album track "Come See What Love Has Done." For those who love the ballads on his second album, this song completely anticipates the direction that he took. Unfortunately, he took it too far for his third album, and this EP should certainly be purchased before suffering the mellow bubblegum of Human Being. ~ Joshua David Shanker
£16.99

Pop - Released January 24, 2012 | Reprise

On 2008's Soul, Seal went through the '60s soulbook with the assistance of producer David Foster. For its 2011 sequel, Seal moves on a decade and brings in Trevor Horn to helm its 11 tracks (sometimes in conjunction with Foster and his cohort Jochem van der Saag), a result that perhaps freshens proceedings up a bit but doesn't change them markedly. Soul 2 remains a faithful re-creation of classic soul, Horn applying a new coat of paint to the original arrangements, ensuring that this is a fresh, glistening environment for Seal. The singer doesn't pop against this backdrop, he blends into his surroundings, sounding as immaculately tailored as the instrumentation, never pushing the tunes away from the melodies you know by heart. While that might not make for especially compelling listening, it's certainly pleasant either as nostalgia or as high-end lifestyle music. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine