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Soul

4.4 out of 5 stars 306 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

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(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
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 11, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B001F290E4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (306 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,252 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. S. Hill on November 23, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I heard "A Change is Gonna Come" played on the R&B station I listen to and was surprised the artist was Seal. I thought he did a great job on the Sam Cooke classic. I then listened to his rendition of Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions "People Get Ready." At that point, I knew I was going to buy this CD regardless of the low ratings viewers have given this album. Obviously, Seal fans are used to his "rock" style and aren't ready for such a soulful, classic, melodic CD. The brotha really goes deep into the roots of African-American R&B of the earlier groups, puts his own spin on them, but his delivery is superb. So, old school baby-boomers and post-boomers will really appreciate this CD so aptly named "Soul." Soul it is, and definitely R&B! I listened to every track and never took it out of my CD player while I ran errands for about four hours. Frankly, I was sad when Track 12 played because I knew I had to listen to the CD again. Beautiful CD! Old Schoolers -- you'll love it it if you like the ballads of Wilson Pickett, Al Green, Sam (the Impressions), and of course, the wonderful balladeer Sam Cooke. "I Can't Stand the Rain" is sung like a man (as opposed to Tina Turner) would sing the song, and I didn't have a problem with his rendition. I love this CD, and I've never bought a Seal CD in my life! Also, you'll remember Luther Vandross covered a lot of songs and took home lots of Grammy's. So, if you can cover a great song but add your own flavor, what's wrong with that? Beautiful music remains beautiful if the artist can sing!
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Format: Audio CD
I started reading through some of these reviews and I think that what people are missing is that beyond being another Seal album, this is an ode to the classics performed by one of the best voices of this generation. The songs he chose are so amazing and I'm so glad to hear someone record them who can really do them justice. I will truly enjoy listening to this record over and over.
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Format: Audio CD
One of the mistakes that these so called reviewers make is rating each song as better or worse than the original version. Seal puts his on stamp on each and that is what makes each song so good. When I heard his version of "Walk on by", I did not like it. Now after listening to it over and over, Dionne Warwick's take on it seems lacking. Cut the guy some slack - each one of his CDs has had its own flavor and I appreciate the effort that it must take to redfine his style each pass through the recording studio. The biggest mistake a recording artist can make (in my opinion) is to crank out the same predictable stuff. With Seal you never know what to expect. He could record Disney's "Its a Small World" and make it sound sweet!
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Format: MP3 Music
I have been following and loving Seal since his "Killer" days. This album is such a mature and wonderful addition to his already great work. He has taken some cool old classics and made them better than they were the first time! "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "If you don't love me by now" have never sounded so soulful and sweet. What a LUCKY girl that Heidi Klum is!!!
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By cakelover on November 19, 2008
Format: MP3 Music
Thank you Seal. How beautiful this is, I was blown away when I heard "A change is gonna come" I thought it was Sam Cooke at first than I heard Seal's melodic tone on the end of one of the notes. Fabulous!!!
Thank You!
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Format: Audio CD
At the beginning of his classic track "Killer," Seal says, "It's the loneliness that's the killer." And maybe that's just it: after you marry a supermodel and get her to duet with you on your CD ("Wedding Day" on System, 2007), even if it's quite a good song, the critics just don't take you seriously anymore, nevermind what you try next.

Witness the tepid critical reception of what Seal tried next, Soul. The record is an hommage to classic soul music - it boldly and unashamedly soldiers through the well-known territory of "A Change is Gonna Come," "Stand by Me" and "People Get Ready." To make things even more complicated for the critics, it's produced by David Foster. Here are some excerpts from the web:

"Is this album really necessary? Well, life is really no better or worse after listening to Soul. It's a rather innocuous collection." (From Popmatters)

"The problem with most of these songbook albums - Soul included - is that in choosing such memorable tunes, Seal inevitably invites comparisons to originals few can hope to transcend. Unless you do something radically different-see Cat Powers' inventive Jukebox (Matador) from last winter-you risk sounding like a sub-par imitation." (From VIBE)

"But the songs he has chosen [...] have been reinterpreted so many thousands of times, he'd have to reinvent them to get anyone to pay attention, and the only thing new that Seal brings to the party is a feeling of swank Euro-sophistication that saps the music of much of its emotional oomph. Soul is an unnecessary record." (From Rolling Stone)

In a way, this is what a modern music critic would have to say, of course. We've been conditioned to expect that covers - at the very least - have to be unusual to pay them any attention.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Seal burst upon the world in 1991 with a global hit album SEAL that garnered three top-20 hit singles and two more top-40 hits, clearly better than half of a nine track album full of unique compositions with style, lyrical, tempo, and key changes. Though slotted often as a "soul/R&B" album, SEAL and its follow-up also called SEAL, which garnered three additional top-20 hits, including the Batman Forever soundtrack standout Kiss From A Rose, are really far from traditional Soul or R&B. His writing and performing style more closely resembled the experiment post-wave rock of Tears For Fears and others. After three smash albums, Seal's popularity in the USA began to decline with smaller and smaller sales, even though in European markets the diminishing returns were less notable. Seal continued through this last decade to be a top-notch performer despite the more lackluster sales compared to SEAL, SEAL (II), and HUMAN BEING.

In 2008, Seal joined forces with "Hit Man" David Foster to produce an album comprised entirely of cover songs. Not just any cover songs but covers of literally the greatest soul-R&B singles in the canon of a genre. These classics are embedded in the brains of nearly every baby boomer who ever turned on a radio, bought 45 rpm singles, attended a high school dance, entered a bar with a jukebox, or gathered at the late evening drive-in. The project at face value sounded like something doomed to failure from the get-go. But one has to bear in mind that this was a superstar with a terrific voice, and a man whose prowess as producer, arranger, and talent manager is unparalleled. It was literally a marriage made in heaven, so the choice of material was a fully loaded intercontinental ballistic missile. I had my fears, do not doubt that for a second!
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