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Pop - Released April 17, 2012 | Warner Records

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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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Soul - Released February 17, 2009 | 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
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Pop - Released January 4, 2005 | Warner Records

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Soul - Released November 8, 2004 | Warner Records

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 /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 8, 2004 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 8, 2004 | Warner Records

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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 /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 6, 2004 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released November 18, 2003 | Warner Records

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Soul - Released September 9, 2003 | Warner Records

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Pop - Released August 5, 2003 | Warner Records

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Warner Records in the magazine