Album: Seal

Seal, Warner Bros
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The Independent Culture

In between 1998's Human Being and this, his third eponymous album, Seal apparently wrote and recorded another entire album, only to scrap the whole thing when he belatedly realised it wasn't good enough. The problem, he discerned, was Los Angeles, his home for more than a decade and a place built on shifting values and shifty fictions. The solution, he decided, was to return to the "energy and immediacy" of London, scene of his greatest successes; more important, one suspects, was his decision to reunite with the master producer Trevor Horn, guiding hand behind those successes. And to their credit, the pair of them have just about pulled it off here, even if it's hard to believe these 11 songs were the best of an initial batch of 75. Tracks such as "Heavenly (Good Feeling)" and "My Vision" are generic Seal, with that vaunting, aspirational quality that marked earlier hits such as "Killer". As with much of Seal's work, there's a vague sense of significance about these songs that evaporates in the heat of one's attention. Seal makes for a pleasant hour or so's listening, though things are strung rather thin in places, with slight songs such as "Touch" over-egged, and others bearing melodic traces of standards such as "Burning down the House" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking for".