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Pop - Released November 9, 2020 | Cult Legends

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Pop - Released April 17, 2012 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released January 24, 2012 | Reprise

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Pop - Released November 4, 2011 | Reprise

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Pop - Released October 24, 2011 | Reprise

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Pop - Released January 31, 2011 | Reprise

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Pop - Released October 5, 2010 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released September 10, 2010 | Reprise

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Pop - Released January 17, 2010 | Warner Records

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 /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 27, 2009 | Warner Records

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 /TiVo
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Pop - Released July 2, 2009 | Warner Records

Besides taking his usual multi-year hiatus before releasing Seal IV, the artist scrapped a whole album's worth of material, feeling he couldn't stand behind the strength of the songs (should this be Seal IV.I?). It's disappointing, then, that the songs on Seal IV lack any of the Grammy-grabbing flair of his earlier releases. What saves it is a conviction that is high enough to overcome, a voice that is more driven than usual, and some genuine moments of songwriting inspiration. "Let Me Roll" has a cool swagger and fun wordplay, and the yearning ballad "Loneliest Star" is only a few steps away from "Kiss from a Rose." Opener "Get It Together" offers an Up With People understanding of the state of the world with its "everyone is beautiful" sentimentality, but it's the funky backbeat and gritty vocals that make it more Al Green than Lee Greenwood. A re-recording of Seal's collaboration with Jakatta, "My Vision" is given new life through more restrained than usual production from Trevor Horn. The absence of Horn's usual bombast throughout the album allows Seal's voice (in every sense of the word) to be the focus. It's a good move, and if the totally solid Jakatta-sourced track is any indication, a break from Horn might be beneficial next time. Despite being heavy with unexceptional tunes, Seal IV has enough going for it to warrant the next four years of anticipation. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 12, 2009 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released April 20, 2009 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released April 20, 2009 | Sire - Warner Records

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Pop - Released April 14, 2009 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 17, 2008 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 12, 2007 | Warner Records

It's hard to call System a comeback, as Seal never really went away (despite the long gaps between albums), but this 2007 album arrived with the greatest anticipation he's had since the mid-'90s, when his second eponymous album arrived just after the twin hits of "Crazy" and "Killer." All that anticipation had little do with Seal's music, it had more to do with his sudden re-emergence as tabloid fodder in the wake of his 2005 marriage to supermodel Heidi Klum. In the wake of the runaway reality TV hit Project Runway, Klum's star never burned brighter, and its luminescence spilled over to Seal as well, helping to propel him back to the spotlight. Stature so increased, Seal decided to ditch longtime producer Trevor Horn and hire Stuart Price, Madonna's collaborator for her calculatedly retro-disco Confessions on a Dance Floor. Seal employed Price for a similar purpose but instead of reaching way back into the electro past, he decided to revive the house-inflected sound of "Crazy" for System, right down to how the album's opener "If It's in My Mind, It's on My Face" rides a similar stuttering, surging sixteenth-note hook into its chorus. System may be a dance album but it never feels as if its meant for clubs and parties, unless they're upscale cocktail parties. This may not be as soft as the music he made after "Kiss from a Rose," but the feel is the same: it's calming, atmospheric music, even when the beat pulsates relentlessly, as on "Dumb" or "The Right Life." As this is an appealing sound, System goes down smooth, even if it's rather strange that it is so nostalgic for the pre-Clinton '90s, but this is so much a production piece that, apart from the acoustic "Rolling," the only song that stands outside of the sheer sonic gloss is "Wedding Day," a genuinely odd piece of kitsch duet with Heidi herself. She acquits herself well as the spouses exchange pledges of devotion, but it's just too silly to take seriously, yet it's so sincere in its convictions that it is more grabbing than the rest of the record. And it just may be appropriate that Heidi Klum dominates System, as she is the one responsible for Seal's return to the limelight, after all. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 12, 2007 | Warner Records

It's hard to call System a comeback, as Seal never really went away (despite the long gaps between albums), but this 2007 album arrived with the greatest anticipation he's had since the mid-'90s, when his second eponymous album arrived just after the twin hits of "Crazy" and "Killer." All that anticipation had little do with Seal's music, it had more to do with his sudden re-emergence as tabloid fodder in the wake of his 2005 marriage to supermodel Heidi Klum. In the wake of the runaway reality TV hit Project Runway, Klum's star never burned brighter, and its luminescence spilled over to Seal as well, helping to propel him back to the spotlight. Stature so increased, Seal decided to ditch longtime producer Trevor Horn and hire Stuart Price, Madonna's collaborator for her calculatedly retro-disco Confessions on a Dance Floor. Seal employed Price for a similar purpose but instead of reaching way back into the electro past, he decided to revive the house-inflected sound of "Crazy" for System, right down to how the album's opener "If It's in My Mind, It's on My Face" rides a similar stuttering, surging sixteenth-note hook into its chorus. System may be a dance album but it never feels as if its meant for clubs and parties, unless they're upscale cocktail parties. This may not be as soft as the music he made after "Kiss from a Rose," but the feel is the same: it's calming, atmospheric music, even when the beat pulsates relentlessly, as on "Dumb" or "The Right Life." As this is an appealing sound, System goes down smooth, even if it's rather strange that it is so nostalgic for the pre-Clinton '90s, but this is so much a production piece that, apart from the acoustic "Rolling," the only song that stands outside of the sheer sonic gloss is "Wedding Day," a genuinely odd piece of kitsch duet with Heidi herself. She acquits herself well as the spouses exchange pledges of devotion, but it's just too silly to take seriously, yet it's so sincere in its convictions that it is more grabbing than the rest of the record. And it just may be appropriate that Heidi Klum dominates System, as she is the one responsible for Seal's return to the limelight, after all. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released December 19, 2006 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released May 24, 2005 | Warner Records

In the case of Seal's Live in Paris, the CD with packed-in DVD format turns what would be a mediocre live album release into a desirable package. The DVD is by far the highlight of the set, since Seal's live show doesn't vary drastically from his recordings. There's very little improvisation and the arrangements stick as closely to the album versions as a five-piece can, which is a compliment since carrying off Trevor Horn's ambitious productions with a small combo is no small feat. The CD also disappoints by chopping off Seal's versions of "Hey Joe" and "Deep Water," an intimate encore that looks and sounds triumphant on the DVD. Consider the CD a freebie for fans away from their televisions and consider the DVD first. The concert is captured well with shots around Paris and bits of Seal backstage tastefully inserted into the main program. The cameramen seem a little more infatuated with the female concertgoers than they should be, but not at the expense of the show, which is captured brilliantly from all angles. Seal's pleasant exchanges with the audience add the warm charisma missed on the CD, and while his voice isn't in A+ condition for the show, it doesn't crack and survives every demanding, dramatic ballad just fine. Live albums are rarely recommendable to anyone but the most devoted fans, but with the DVD, Live in Paris rises above being a throwaway, stopgap release. © David Jeffries /TiVo