13 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years after bursting out of the U.K. rave scene as the voice of Adamski’s “Killer,” Seal rediscovers his club-music roots on 2007’s System. Taking a break from longtime producer Trevor Horn, here Seal chose to work with electronic producer Stuart Price, best known for his techno remixes for artists like No Doubt, The Killers, and Coldplay. Price has a knack for turning authentic dance beats into all-inclusive pop tunes, but it's Seal who's responsible for the depth and texture of these songs. “If It’s In My Mind, It’s on My Face,” “Amazing," and “System” might feel generic if another artist sang them, but Seal uses his voice's full range to turn these light techno songs into works of beauty. Even a duet with Heidi Klum, “Wedding Day,” is saved by virtue of Seal’s gravity as a singer. The guitars in “Dumb” and “Just Like Before” suggest that these songs have roots in acoustic songwriting, but System stays remarkably faithful to its vision of club music; this is proven by “The Right Life,” the most hypnotic piece of house music Seal has made since releasing “Crazy” in 1991.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years after bursting out of the U.K. rave scene as the voice of Adamski’s “Killer,” Seal rediscovers his club-music roots on 2007’s System. Taking a break from longtime producer Trevor Horn, here Seal chose to work with electronic producer Stuart Price, best known for his techno remixes for artists like No Doubt, The Killers, and Coldplay. Price has a knack for turning authentic dance beats into all-inclusive pop tunes, but it's Seal who's responsible for the depth and texture of these songs. “If It’s In My Mind, It’s on My Face,” “Amazing," and “System” might feel generic if another artist sang them, but Seal uses his voice's full range to turn these light techno songs into works of beauty. Even a duet with Heidi Klum, “Wedding Day,” is saved by virtue of Seal’s gravity as a singer. The guitars in “Dumb” and “Just Like Before” suggest that these songs have roots in acoustic songwriting, but System stays remarkably faithful to its vision of club music; this is proven by “The Right Life,” the most hypnotic piece of house music Seal has made since releasing “Crazy” in 1991.

TITLE TIME PRICE
5:10 $1.29
3:27 $1.29
4:41 $1.29
5:19 $1.29
3:57 $1.29
3:48 $1.29
4:11 $1.29
5:09 $1.29
4:30 $1.29
4:04 $1.29
3:02 $1.29
8:38 $1.29

Customer Reviews

4 out of 5

52 Ratings

After careful thought, one of the best yet

N3XUS7,

To begin, I'm a Seal fanatic. I have listened to each of his earlier releases many, many times, and was somewhat dissapointed by Seal IV ("Waiting for You" and "Love's Divine" nonwithstanding). I certainly had high hopes about System, and when "Amazing" was released, I was even more excited. When I first listened to the album, I was, frankly, a bit dismayed. Nothing stuck with me as exceptional, save maybe the title track and "Amazing." After many listenings, however, much as I experienced with "Human Being," I have come to love this album. Even "Wedding Day," save for the rather plodding chorus, has a special place in my heart. The songs are much more Seal 1991-ish, in line with the plans to make this a dance album. "System" and "Amazing" still stand out, but "If It's...", "The Right Life," and the rest shine with great hooks, great lyrics (nothing like "Crazy," but still better than mainstream), and style like only Seal can deliver. In short, if you don't take to this album initially, give it some time. You may be surprised to discover an album much more in keeping with Seal's earlier genius than you first realized.

Whoah! Bring it on!

baileyjn,

Seal's debut came out when I was a teenager, and with the exception of Human Being, which I picked up around the same time as Seal IV, I've gotten his albums as soon as they came out, and they have been major influences on me personally. I'd say Seal is one of the great artists in my 12,000 song music collection. And contrary to when I was younger, when I would only occasionally buy music, and each CD (if it was good) would get a lot of play time and become quite important to me, over the last few years I have been picking up as many as a dozen albums a month. Many albums don't get much play at all in my house these days. But when I downloaded this album, System, it became grossly apparent that Seal's music is still a cut above the hundreds of artists that I am getting exposed to. This is powerful stuff, and will definitely be on my "most played" playlist. As for the album, I would say that it is not as dark as Human Being, not as diverse as Seal IV, and not as R&B influenced as the 1991 album. It is some of the most accessible and highest quality synthpop you'll find. Seal being an island of sorts in the musical community, the word "synthpop" might turn you into the wrong direction by causing associations with the likes of Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. Actually, the beats on System are moderate to fairly fast paced, with almost every track being extremely danceable. Seal still manages to weave a vibe of positivity and depth into his songs with his ethereal vocals and gentle synthesizer overlays draped superbly over the brisk but deep percussion beats. Seal is still comfortable importing stringed and classical style arrangements where appropriate for some very visceral and sensitive tracks. Production is still seamless. So much so that talking about individual tracks is almost pointless. The album must be spoken of as an intricate and variegated unit of beauty that holds the listener by the hand and takes him or her on a trip through a delightful range of rhythms, blending continuously present aspects of originality and creativity with an accessibility and pleasantness finely tuned to release the maximum amount of endorphins possible. This may just be Seal's best album ever. If not, it is certainly on par with his best. This album deserves great sales and much radio time. Hurry up and download this diamond of musical delight and have a listen. You'll be impressed.

About Seal

Seal emerged from England's house music scene in 1990 to become the most popular British soul vocalist of that decade. Although his earliest material still showed signs of acid house, by the mid-'90s he was known for a distinctive fusion of soul, folk, pop, dance, and rock that brought him success on both sides of the Atlantic. Early on, he enjoyed a very high level of success -- an Ivor Novello Award was given to him for the writing of his first single, and he won three Grammy Awards only a few years later. His albums were typically released a few years apart, yet they tended to earn multiple gold and platinum certifications in different countries.

The son of Nigerian and Brazilian parents, Seal, born Sealhenry Samuel in 1963, was raised in England. After graduating with an architectural degree, he took various jobs around London, including electrical engineering and designing leather clothing. After a while, he began singing in local clubs and bars. He joined an English funk band called Push, touring Japan with the band in the mid-'80s. When he was in Asia, he joined a Thailand-based blues band. After a short time with that group, he traveled throughout India on his own.

Upon returning to England, Seal met Adamski, a house and techno producer who had yet to make much of an impression in the U.K. Seal provided the lyrics and vocals for Adamski's "Killer," which became a number one U.K. hit in 1990 and was acknowledged with an Ivor Novello Award. Seal signed a solo recording contract with ZTT and recorded his eponymous debut album with label founder Trevor Horn, who had previously worked with Yes, ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and Grace Jones, among others. The first single pulled from the album, "Crazy," became a number 15 hit in the U.K. in 1990 and reached number seven in the U.S. upon its release there the following year. Seal was likewise a success, reaching number 24 in America and selling over three-million copies around the world.

Seal subsequently took three years to complete his second album. In between the two records, he appeared on the Jimi Hendrix tribute album Stone Free, singing on Jeff Beck's version of "Manic Depression." In the summer of 1994, he released his second album, also titled Seal. Preceded by the American Top 40 hit "Prayer for the Dying," the album did well upon its release, peaking at number 20 and selling a million copies by the spring of 1995, but it didn't really take off until a year after its release, when "Kiss from a Rose" was featured on the soundtrack to Batman Forever. That song became a number one pop single in America and spent a total of 12 weeks at the top of the adult contemporary chart. Its success sent the parent album into multi-platinum status; two years after its original release, the album had sold over four million copies in the U.S. alone. Additionally, the song was connected to three Grammy awards: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Human Being, Seal's third album, hit the shelves in 1998 and didn't fare nearly as well on a commercial level. Five years passed -- a period that included the recording of Togetherland, a shelved album Seal termed "crap" -- prior to the release of Seal IV. That album put the singer back in the Top Ten of the U.K. album chart and, for the first time, in the U.S. Top Ten. As another lengthy between-album period ensued, there were a couple stopgap packages, namely Best: 1991-2004 and the live CD/DVD combo Live in Paris. Additionally, Seal married Heidi Klum, who appeared as a duet partner on "Wedding Day," a song on the 2007 album System.

For the next several years, Seal was more productive than ever. He switched gears with Soul (2008), for which he covered classic soul songs. In eight territories, the album was certified gold, platinum, or diamond, while it reached number 13 in the U.S. It was produced by David Foster, who remained a creative partner for Commitment (2010) and Soul 2 (2011), the latter of which -- a second set of covers -- also involved Trevor Horn. The album 7 (2015), issued three years after Seal and Klum's divorce, was previewed with the tracks "Every Time I'm with You" and "Do You Ever." Those two songs, as well as all others on the album, were produced by Horn. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    Paddington, London, England
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • BORN
    February 19, 1963

Top Songs by Seal

Top Albums by Seal

Top Music Videos by Seal

Listeners Also Bought