- Audio CD (12 Nov. 2007)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: WARNER BROS
- ASIN: B000TUXL34
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,466 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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`System', with its shimmering melodies, glistening layers of synths and acoustic guitar, and supple, electronic beats, "is a return to my roots," Seal says. "I wanted to go back to the guitar, to the very first instrument I wrote `Crazy' and `Killer' on, and get back to the fundamentals of what I really love to do."
For what he calls a `quintessential Seal album', Seal opted to collaborate with Stuart Price, best known for his work on Madonna's `Confessions on a Dancefloor'. "It was quite evident from the first track that Stuart and I were on the same page," Seal says, "that I'd found someone who was able to elaborate on and execute my vision for this record. He loved the songs and I loved his production technique and we just took it from there. He's one of those rare people who plays instruments, understands music theory, and gets what a singer goes through when he is singing a song."
Indeed Seal's pure vocal gift -- his soaring baritone that has become a signature on such hits as `Kiss From a Rose', `Fly Like An Eagle' and `Get It Together' -- amplify the dreamy atmosphere on new tracks `Swoosh', `Amazing' and `Wedding Day', an emotional ballad Seal wrote the morning he wed supermodel Heidi Klum, with whom he has three children.
"Family, my wife and children, that's my reason for being," Seal says. "Everything is done with them in mind, so perhaps that's the reason this new album is up-tempo. It does feel like a celebration of life. I am finally in a content and happy place to the point where I feel like I need to sing about it. It's made me want to address things that are close to home. That's why the album is called `System.' It's saying that against the odds, we have chosen to take control of our emotional system. Not being a victim of a system that's already in place, but creating our own."
Seal appears to have gone back to his roots with his fifth studio album. For a change, this one isn't called Seal, but it does hark back to the best of his back-catalogue. System, his first studio album in four years, and the first without longtime producer Trevor Horn, is sure to please fans of his early work.
Heavy dance beats, and disco-tastic production come courtesy of the man behind the knob-twiddling on Madonna's Confessions On The Dance Floor, Stuart Price. His sure touch means high quality production throughout.
Seal still has a beautifully gravelly/smooth soul voice, which is somehow showcased rather than squandered when set against a pounding dance backing, and it lets him get away with some rather awful sentimentality on this album.
Lead single "Amazing" sounds as if it could have made its way onto Kylie's latest contribution, but the high standard of the production and Seal's seductive tones lifts it out of the ordinary. That said, the song is about on the same level as George Michael's recent offering of the same title.
Seal takes the risky and easy-to-ridicule step of duetting with wife Heidi Klum on "Wedding Day", which is, oooh surprise, about their wedding day. Klum doesn't do a hideous job, but her breathy, girly voice is dwarfed by the raspy, sexy tones of her other half. Lyrics that could have been written by the Sugarplum Fairy don't help, but if saccharine is your thing, then you'll love this change of pace.
"The Right Life" sounds like it was written to become an uplifting club favourite; whether it will make it is another matter. "Rolling", however, is another slow song, with Seal in more mellow form. With a lovely melody, and a smattering of strings, it is one of the best tracks on offer here.
There is nothing remarkable on System, nothing to bring in the unconvinced. But it is relatively consistent, easy on the ears, and may well get you dancing round the house, if not jumping up and down on the dance floor. --Helen Groom
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Top Customer Reviews
Just love Seal check him out in concert. Great album :-) got nearly all the albums now
Then there was a period of searching for a direction, "Human Being" and "Seal IV": both albums with several commendable songs but neither with the intense thought and musical follow-through of Seal's first two.
And now there is "System." From the very first sighs of "If it's in my mind, it's on my face," it is apparent that Seal is up to something different. His trademark voice, always perfectly in pitch, always big, always bold and masculine: "The time is now!..if I could fly I'd spread my wings and free you from these foolish things..." The arrangement is voluptuous with Bass and Strings and the beat dares you not to move out of your chair, whether that chair is in your dining room or in your car....and dance.
The signature song of "System" comes next and that is "Amazing" and indeed it is. In fact there are two versions of this song on this CD, one a remix by "The Thin White Duke" (Bowie maybe?) and there are two others that I know of: one by Kaskade and the other by Bill Hamel available elsewhere.
"Just Like Before," "The Right Life," "Loaded": all primo Seal...thoughtful, rough, truthful, one stronger than the former but all meshed together by the committed vocalizing by one of our premier singers.
"System" is in fact all about fun, about dancing, about Joy and mostly about shrugging off the BS of Life and moving your booty. Seal is obviously happy and wants to spread it around...and we're more than happy to accept his beneficence
"If It's In My Mind, It's On My Face", the single "Amazing" and "Just Like Before" are very uplifting, upbeat and have that typical Seal sound, halfway between dance and pop with powerful vocals and a strong melody, but they all sound very similar. The following track "Loaded" has the same vibe as the previous tracks with the addition of string arrangements. "Wedding Day" has a more laid back feel and is an effective blend of folk and pop, although his wife Heidi's breathy vocals do not add to the song at all. "System" has a very infectious chorus and has a rockier edge than the other songs making it the best song on here. "Dumb" has a great guitar riff which makes this song much better than it would have been without it. "The Right Life" is back to the club vibe from the start of the album and is just as good. "Rolling" is not his best ballad, but it is certainly pleasant and "Immaculate" is a powerful pop rock track.
"System" is a solid and strong album, but it is not ground breaking and it does not push the boundaries of music. Seal has released more accomplished and original work in the past and this one is possibly a little too safe. Nevertheless, it is very good, as are all of his albums.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely superb album - every song is worth listening too and there are not a lot of albums like that these days.Published 21 months ago by Dismas
Big fan of this artist and this is another excellent album.Published on 15 Mar. 2015 by Darin Mulcahy