A great voice singing great songs recorded by a great producer. That is 'Soul', the sixth studio album from multiplatinum selling, Grammy-winning, critically acclaimed Seal. Each song is a stone-cold soul classic, from Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come', Ben E. King's 'Stand By Me', and Ann Pebbles' 'I Can't Stand The Rain' to Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes' 'If You Don't Know Me By Now' and Otis Redding's 'I've Been Loving You Too Long'. Produced by David Foster, 'Soul' is the perfect coming together of man, material and moment.
(Amazon.co.uk Review) Soul
is a confusing beast. We know Seal has a great voice and can easily imagine him being covering golden oldies with aplomb. Yet this collection of soul favourites is frustratingly patchy. Opener "A Change Is Gonna Come" is impassioned and beautifully arranged (the album is helmed by David Foster of Celebrity Duets
fame, who has made sure it sounds fresh and compelling), and even though it could never compare to Sam Cooke's original, it's ultimately a successful reworking. Seal applies his sandpapery tones to James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World", Al Green's “Here I Am" and “I'm Still in Love With You", and Ben E King's “Stand By Me"--all of them with decent results. Decent, yet hardly overwhelming. And here's where the confusion kicks in: Why cover a bunch of songs that have already been done to death? Christmas being right around the corner is perhaps one good reason in commercial terms. But when you listen to the singer transform less well-trodden territory like Deniece Williams' “Free" or Ann Peeble's “I Can't Stand the Rain", it's hard not to feel this play-it-safe option--while undoubtedly a wonderful Xmas gift--is also a lost creative opportunity. --Danny McKenna