First Impressions: Seal Tackles 'Soul' With Softer Results

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ah...the covers album. Let's see, let's see. It's a tricky luck of the draw when doing a covers album. Sometimes it works and sometimes you come off sounding almost unsure if you should be attempting it in the first place. In a sad but true reality, the always effervescent and talented Seal comes off as if he got to the diving board, was ready to jump and then decided that the water was a bit too cold to dive right in. Don't get me wrong, Seal doing renditions of Al Green, James Brown, and even Eddie Floyd tunes sounded like a match made in heaven. Seal's signature gravel and honey mix tone would sound perfect layered over these classic soul cuts. That ideal doesn't really materialize as the singer's newest album, Soul barely scratches the surface. The British singer, famous for his 1995 classic, "Kiss From A Rose", isn't to blame though as he is one of the best male vocalists we have as of now. It's his pairing with famed producer David Foster that gets the finger point. Foster's musical arrangements almost water down real shakers like "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)" and "Knock On Wood". There are signs of restraint, unsureness and sometimes you just can't feel the soul...but Seal is doing it (Lord knows he is), it's just the music is too fluffy. Still there are some diamonds in the rough. The soothing "Free" is one of the best (and few) renditions I've heard since Chante Moore injected her flavor a decade ago. Seal does this song like it should be it has some life breathed into it and isn't that what a covers album is supposed to accomplish?

Rating: 5.5/10
Release Date: November 11, 2008


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