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Title: Seal: Human being
Author: Kitty Empire


HE WAS ALMOST COOL ONCE. AS THE PEBBLY VOCALIST and rotating head on Adamski’s ‘Killer’, Seal intrigued a nation with his perky mini-dreads and mysterious Nigerian tribal scarring. Then, instead of dragging his weathered tones to the nearest junglist for a good time-stretching, he chose the path of Sade and made pan-global soul-pop for the Gold Blend generation. And now, with ‘Human Being’, he’s gone trip-hop and writes songs about Tupac and Biggie.

No, really. The title track observes hip-hop’s dead — “We’re mere human beings/We die” — as a breakbeat shuffles gravely along underneath. ‘State Of Grace’ adds a light dusting of Bristolian jiggery pokery to its piano-bar vibe, while ‘Latest Craze’ wriggles with classy urban beats. A thousand dinner parties chew on, oblivious.

The remaining 12 tracks simply reaffirm what you already knew: the man is an econo-size Lighthouse Family — all swelling strings and post-prandial spirituality — only, thanks to the production contributions from Trevor Horn, Anne ‘Art Of Noise’ Dudley, Wendy & Lisa and William Orbit, with expensive studio knobs on. (3)