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Essential For Any Seal Fan
on 4 October 2010
I don't want to focus on the one or two star reviews given so far, other than to say that those reviewers clearly haven't been listening to the same album I have. In an industry that's become inundated with commercial, manufactured pop acts, Seal truly is like a breath of fresh air, even nearly twenty years after his 1991 debut. Seal has always been the kind of artist who can commit himself to any kind of music (and make it sound good), but clearly that isn't the reason for this album's title.
He's older now, perhaps a little bit wiser and far more settled in his personal life. Hence songs like Best Of Me and Letting Go reference both his relationship with Heidi and their four children. It's an emotive, uplifting, personal nod to 2008's Soul - an album which despite containing old-fashioned material (it was a covers album), elevated Seal back into the music buying public's consciousness. And Commitment does much the same, except to say that lyrically and vocally Seal sounds better than ever.
He's helped along a great deal by David Foster's exquisite production sensibilities. As such, anyone expecting the tried and tested formula of generic (read boring) pop music won't find it here. There's no guest appearances, no duets and no apologies, Seal obviously knows he doesn't need cheap gimmicks in order to sell records and is secure enough in his own vocal range to not need them.
Admittedly on my first listen only two songs really stood out to me (those being Silence and Secret), it takes several playthroughs before you can fully appreciate the quality of what you're hearing. Even two of my friends (who aren't big Seal fans) think this is an 'amazing' and 'really good' album. That says a lot for Seal's enduring (and widespread) appeal.
Lyrically, this is a reflective album, but one which manages to escape the usual cliches associated with songs about relationships. The Way I Lie is about being in a relationship when one person wants to hold onto something that isn't working and the other doesn't have the heart to end things. It's a beautiful, reflective song about what might have been, about love and ultimately loss. In direct contrast Big Time has more in common with Empire State (Alicia Keys). It has a big beat, a big chorus and fantastic orchestral/string arrangement.
In closing, I'm not the kind of reviewer to go through rating every song (I think they're all great anyway), but I really can not recommend this album highly enough. In my opinion it's quite possibly Seal's best album to date and that should be recommendation enough for any Seal fan to go out and buy it straight away.