Seal has the looks, the image and more importantly the voice of a successful artist,...
Niky Daley 2003
On the sleeve of his new album, IV, Sealhenry Samuel in his trenchcoatlooks like Laurence Fishburne's sidekick in The Matrix. Seal has the looks, the image and more importantly the voice of a successful artist, unfortunately right now he's not got the songs.
IV is produced by Trevor Horn of 80s pop fame, (Frankie Goes To Hollywood in particular). Subseqently, this record is slick but lacks the edge of past hits and enters the bland Lighthouse Family camp. It begins with the new single, the incredibly catchy "Get It Together". The song will get inside your head, attaching itself like a piece of chewing gum to your shoe - it's there but not out of choice. "Waiting For You" is similarly upbeat and starts promisingly enough in a funky vein but the string break in the middle ruins not enhances it.
The rockier and funkier numbers such as "My Vision" and "Let Me Roll" lift the album out of complete mediocrity although "My Vision" builds but goes nowhere. On a more positive note, "Don't Make Me Wait" is the highlight of the eleven tracks and his best chance of a big chart hit. By contrast if you should get as far as track seven, "Touch", you would be well advised to skip this insipid ballad which verges on the cringeworthy.
There is no disputing that Seal has an amazing voice - it is eminently soulful with a hint of roughness that is much better suited to rockier and funkier tunes. It certainly doesn't need the distraction of echoing backing vocals and the saccharine strings that it has to fight against throughout. Having seen some of this material performed in concert I would recommend the Seal gig experience but until he brings out a live version of these tracks I would give IV a miss.