Seal has recorded some great pop tunes and some lovely pop ballads over the years and has so far released five strong solo albums. He has now chosen to release one that focuses on his own versions of some of the best written soul tracks by the likes of Sam Cooke, Al Green, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and Ben E. King. Because he has mostly kept to the original melodies and harmonies, and because he has such a powerful soulful voice, it is a pretty decent effort.
"A Change Is Gonna Come" is very well covered and his voice sounds immaculate. He goes one further on "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" by somehow managing to improve on the original version. He is just as successful on more up tempo tracks such as "I Can't Stand The Rain", "It's Alright", "Knock On Wood" and the very infectious "Here I Am". Beautifully written tracks such as "Stand By Me" and "People Get Together" are very well interpreted.
Although most of the album is very good, "I've Been Loving You Too Long" fades into the background. It still remains pleasant, well produced and arranged, but I would not have necessarily included it on "Soul". The only two tracks I feel he has not interpreted well are "If You Don't Know Me By Now" (Simply Red's version is better) and "Free" (Chante Moore's rendition is much better).
Seal sounds great on nearly everything he lends his vocals to so it is no surprise to me that this covers album works very well. The arrangements on all of the songs are pretty flawless and his tone of voice suits this kind of music perfectly. "Soul" is well put together too as a ballad is followed by an up tempo song. A well deserved 4 stars.
This special edition includes 3 bonus tracks. The very catchy "In The Midnight Hour", the very memorable "My Girl" and a funky dance remix of "Here I Am". Each song is good and adds to the release.
Fantastic music from Seal. If you want to relax, just turn this music on and have a glass of wine in your armchair. Usually I do not like covered songs, but Seal adds some extra spice to the original songs, which is a bonus. Never heard anyone doing it except Rod Stewart. It is definitely 5 out of 5.