We reviewed Seal’s sophomore album, Seal II.
One of my favourite albums, and one of the best of the 1990s, by far. It still remains the only album I can listen through without skipping on a regular basis. Each song has a high “listenability” rating for me. From the very start, Bring It On does exactly what it says on the tin. A hallucinating mix of electric guitar riffing give the track an almost “tripping” feel, with the lyrics, “Give me something for the dream that I am in,” adding to this effect. This then leads into Prayer For The Dying, a track that Seal said during his concert One Night To Remember concert, wasn’t a sad song, as the title may have alluded to, but a “celebration of life, rather than mourning of death”. I tend to agree with him, as the lyrics may seem quite depressing, but the music accompanying it is fairly cheerful and upbeat, which creates a paradoxical setting. Like in Bring It On, there is a mix of not only electric guitar, but also the classic acoustic guitar, an instrument synonymous with Seal himself.
The album then drifts into a lulling track, Dreaming in Metaphors, about people living their lives in “something they couldn’t understand”. A superb album filler, with beautifully abstract lyrics that seem to paint a picture of what is being said. Don’t Cry, one of the hits of the album, is something of a “power ballad”, and I often find myself singing the lyrics in full voice. Easily one of the best songs on the record, and from their, the tone is kept consistent, with Fast Changes, about a loved one having left. I especially love the Indian instrumentals in the background, which, on paper, seem unorthodox and out of place, but work exceptionally well. However, the next song is Seal’s most recognizable track, with millions around the world knowing the lyrics and singing along whenever the title is mentioned: Kiss From A Rose. Some of the most abstract lyrics you can find in a song and sung so eloquently, it almost sounds like a lullaby. When first released, it didn’t perform very well in the charts, but film director, Joel Schumacher, having heard the track, wished to have it as the soundtrack to his new film, Batman Forever, and thus it was re-released and became a huge hit. If it wasn’t for Prayer For The Dying, Kiss From A Rose would be my favourite of the album, without a doubt.
The subsequent four songs are nothing more than album fillers, and while they are of a hig quality, they don’t need a scrutinous critique. I will give a mention to the reprise at the end, a tranquil piece of music, based on the opening track of the album, Bring It On. Whenever I listen to it, it always makes me think of sunshine and paradise, and gives me a sense of happiness and optimism, something that can be heard throughout the whole record. If you’ve never listened to Seal before, or thought he wasn’t that good, I compel you to listen to this. If you like your acoustic music, this is the album for you.