Mr Heidi Klum returns with a new producer and an old sound...
Helen Groom 2007
Seal appears to have gone back to his roots with his fifth studio album. For a change, this one isn’t called Seal, but it does hark back to the best of his back-catalogue. System, his first studio album in four years, and the first without longtime producer Trevor Horn, is sure to please fans of his early work.
Heavy dance beats, and disco-tastic production come courtesy of the man behind the knob-twiddling on Madonna’s Confessions On The Dance Floor, Stuart Price. His sure touch means high quality production throughout.
Seal still has a beautifully gravelly/smooth soul voice, which is somehow showcased rather than squandered when set against a pounding dance backing, and it lets him get away with some rather awful sentimentality on this album.
Lead single "Amazing" sounds as if it could have made its way onto Kylie's latest contribution, but the high standard of the production and Seal's seductive tones lifts it out of the ordinary. That said, the song is about on the same level as George Michael's recent offering of the same title.
Seal takes the risky and easy-to-ridicule step of duetting with wife Heidi Klum on "Wedding Day", which is, oooh surprise, about their wedding day. Klum doesn’t do a hideous job, but her breathy, girly voice is dwarfed by the raspy, sexy tones of her other half. Lyrics that could have been written by the Sugarplum Fairy don't help, but if saccharine is your thing, then you'll love this change of pace.
"The Right Life" sounds like it was written to become an uplifting club favourite; whether it will make it is another matter. "Rolling", however, is another slow song, with Seal in more mellow form. With a lovely melody, and a smattering of strings, it is one of the best tracks on offer here.
There is nothing remarkable on System, nothing to bring in the unconvinced. But it is relatively consistent, easy on the ears, and may well get you dancing round the house, if not jumping up and down on the dance floor.