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100 Albums: "Seal (1994)" by Seal

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Seal
Title: Seal
Released: 1994
Genre: adult contemporary


Seal came to international prominence in 1991 with the song Crazy off his self-titled debut. He followed it up with another self-title album three years later, one that propelled him to superstardom, featuring Kiss From A Rose, his best-known song that was also features on the Batman Forever soundtrack and promoted alongside the movie. Seal is almost the textbook definition of adult contemporary. If you scaled back the R&B influence, this could almost be a Sting album (Sting being the actual textbook definition of "adult contemporary music"). It's got a lot of inventiveness buried under a ton of polish, but if you don't mind a record with some gloss on it, this one is solid.

Seal's got an incredible voice and puts together some very strong music here. The best tracks are the singles, and if you like them, you're going to like the rest. Kiss From A Rose is, of course, fairly iconic by now, and the version on this album is slightly longer (and also slightly better) than the one from Batman Forever. Don't Cry and Prayer For The Dying are soft-rock radio staples and also very good, if you like passionately sung tunes about sadness. My other favorite from this album is Newborn Friend (embedded above) because it's a little more upbeat and complex than the singles. The opener Bring It On is a lot of fun, and I also enjoy Fast Changes, which is an oddly sparse arrangement for an uptempo song that's not guitar-centric.

It's the kind of album that you get to the end of and think "Oh, well, that was pleasant." It was also a tricky one to buy. When I bought it, I was purchasing mostly used CDs on eBay, and the word "Seal" used to be a popular keyword meaning "unopened" in addition to being the name of the artist, the album, and another of his albums.

Further Listening: The 1991 album is pretty good too, and for my money, Crazy is Seal's best song.

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