Title: Seal: Seal
Sealhenry Samuel (now you know), was the voice, and lyricist, of Adamski’s ‘Killer’, one of last year’s pop/dance highlights. Since then he’s had two hits of his own, ‘Crazy’ and ‘Future Love Paradise’. It’s rather disappointing, though not altogether surprising, to find that these three singles are the strongest tracks on his debut album — not just as songs, but in terms of arrangement and production too. (Trevor Horn must share both credit and blame here).
‘Deep Water’ is the kind of elongated, collage album track that Queen would release as a single: it starts as an acoustic ballad, stops, and after a few backward tapes, re-emerges as a funky bop, only to be immersed in an Anne Dudley orchestrated ‘James Bond’-like string part, ending up in an organ/strings/soulful voice coda that’s vaguely reminiscent of Traffic… probably not a comparison welcomed by a 1990s’ dreadlocked-love-god.
‘Whirlpool’ is a stark acoustic guitar and piano thing that’s almost like mellow-mood Hendrix. But it’s the songs on which Seal shares writing credits with programmer colleague Guy Sigworth which seem to offer least: ‘The Beginning’ is predictable disco-funk (‘Hold onto love’ etc); ‘Wild’, a misnomer, is routine rock (‘stroll on, lady…’); and the last track, ‘Violet’ is a soporific outro, tinkling piano over a Latino lounge rhythm, with aimless keyboard warblings (Mr Horn using up some old Yes patches, perhaps).
Seal has a genuinely fine soul voice… but I see an opening for a songwriting partner on the staff before long.