He’s moody and magnificently detailed. He’s short of tunes.
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With just three albums in eight years you could hardly accuse Seal of knocking them out. Still, he’s established his own identity with that affecting, melancholic voice, his questing lyrics and a certain tunefulness. The first two qualities are fully intact here but the third, increasingly elusive since that magnificent debut, is all but absent. Which not to say this clutch of troubled love songs and insecurity is bad: it’s just not very involving.
Apart from the opening Human Beings—a grand, orchestral number—and the teasingly ambiguous Latest (raze, the tempo never rises above medium-paced, and the tunes grow increasingly slight. In fact, strip away the arrangements and Trevor Horn’s magnificent, detailed production and you’re not left with a lot: some nice musical touches (guests include Wendy & Lisa, William Orbit and Simply Red’s Heitor Pereira), some thoughtful lyrics and a vague memory of moody musings. Okay, so it’s not pop, but there’s little he hasn’t done better already, and with Lighthouse Family’s Tunde Bayieuw having moved in on non-macho male intimacy, Seal may find the world has learned to live with his absence. ☆☆