A truly wonderful debut by a truly wonderful man
Tom Benton | North Springfield, VT USA | 12/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll be frank: Seal is one of my favorite people in the world. I was introduced to him through his utterly gorgeous ballad "Kiss from a Rose", which inspired me to purchase SEAL . Since then, I've been hooked. His music is trendy and hip, upliftingly dreamy and surreal, but also forceful and immensely inspiring. This guy is living proof that music doesn't have to be all "doom and gloom" to sell well - Seal's music is the most optimistic thing I've ever come across. And he's wonderful in real life too - courteous, humble, kind, and aware. All in all, he's a fantastic guy.
This fantastic guy burst onto the music scene in 1991 with his self-titled debut; because both of Seal's first two albums were self-titled, they have been nicknamed SEAL 1 and SEAL 2. SEAL 2 is the more serene, uplifting, ballad album; SEAL 1, the debut, is the super-danceable trip-hop album. The beats are definitely pounding and creative enough to attract attention, but two things seperate SEAL 1 from the rest of the many early-90s trip-hop albums: talent and heart. When I say "talent", I am of course referring to the magnificent Seal, whose singing is powerful and inspiring and whose musical craftsmanship is astounding. When I say "heart", I'm referring to the lyrics of the songs and the message of the album, as well as the incredible amount of effort put into the music. The message is love each other and enjoy life. Sounds like a sappy, pretentious dance CD, right? Well, that's the wonderful thing about Seal: he means it, and he'll have you singing with him by the end of the album.
SEAL 1 has a number of track highlights. The obvious selection is "Crazy", the megahit single that propelled Seal into stardom. Other highlights include the cascading, pounding "Killer"; bouncing, upbeat "The Beginning"; and the dreamy, ethereal closer "Violet", in which Seal channels Vangelis. Every song is a delight, though, if not because of their quality then because of the sheer amount of effort that Seal puts into them. Trevor Horn, who produces all of Seal's albums, clearly gave Seal room to be creative, though Seal doesn't seem quite as comfortable here as he does on his subsequent albums, especially SEAL 2, the man's masterpiece.
Some would still call SEAL 1 Seal's best record, and I can understand that completely. It definitely ranks right up there among the man's finest work, and that's saying something. If you're sick of all this dank, depressing "emo" music or just need a break from nihilistic rock, or even if - heaven forbid - you're in the mood to try something new, please, give SEAL a shot. I'm confident that you won't regret it - this is a truly wonderful debut by a truly wonderful man."
Seal: An Iconic Album Ahead of its Time
G. YEO | Singapore | 04/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In an age where pop music goes out of date rather quickly, Seal overcame the odds and created something that has stood the test of time. When you pop a CD in 17 years after it's been recorded and it sounds brilliant - well, it deserves a review here doesn't it?
In fact, Seal's debut was so good that it was hard to improve on. Seal has never quite matched subsequent efforts with his first album's iconic status despite building a stellar career. "Crazy" and "Killer" and "Future Love Paradise" have become anthems across clubs and continents. Hats off to producer Trevor Horn for nailing this.
If you could or must get one Seal album, this is the one. The voice, the man, the songwriting, the production - everything was so ahead of its contemporaries that it's a joy to listen to. Seamless from start to end - Seal soars. Celebrate his talent here."