Seal has had a very accomplished career in music spanning two decades with hardly any flaws. Marking his 20 years in the music business, Seals' eighth album "Soul 2" as its title suggests is his second collection of Soul classics. Where the first collection of songs he released in 2008 called "Soul" had some very powerful and emotional moments, I am sad to say that I cannot say the same for this release. The interpretations tend to be quite bland and the choice of songs is possibly not that inspiring or exciting making "Soul 2" sound more like a ploy for the record company to make some money rather than enable the artist to create an authentic and credible record. Do not get me wrong - the songs are well known, successful and nicely sung. I just have such high expectations from Seal that I would want hear more originality and depth from him.
On one hand, there are great song choices which lack that special something. "Wishing On A Star" is pleasant but has seen better days in its original version sung by Rose Royce. Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" are classic Soul songs but suffer the same fate as they are interpreted in a way that makes them sound less appealing and interesting. On the other hand, there are some poor song choices. The Miracles' "Ohh Baby Baby", The O'Jays' "Back Stabbers" and The Chi-Lites "Oh Girl" are sadly given their original arrangements and fade into the background. I have to admit that I had never heard of "Love Won't Let Me Wait" by Major Harris, but it does not really draw me in nor push me away which is the main problem with this album. One song in particular that sounds out of place on here as it does not have the same sensual vibe as the other tracks is "Lean On Me", which would probably have suited "Soul" more than this release, although I have heard it way to many times before and interpreted much better.
There are some very nice moments, but they are few and far between. "Love TKO", originally recorded by Teddy Pendergrass, is possibly the highlight from this album as it retains its sensuality and flow. The second cover of a Rose Royce song, "Love Don't Live Her Anymore", is very suave and classy. "I'll Be Around" sounds just as fresh and exciting as the original version sung by The Spinners.
I am not a big fan of cover albums and prefer to hear new music from the artists that I have grown to love and respect. I will still love Seal, but I hope that this is the last time he will decide to cover songs in this manner. I really do not want to see the birth of "Soul 3" (although I will probably end up still buying it!).