Seal: Soul 2 – review

(Warner Bros)

The follow-up to the 2008 covers album Soul finds Seal treading on hallowed ground: the tracklisting includes cornerstones of American popular music such as What's Going On and Let's Stay Together. His voice and interpretive skills are such, though, that most tracks fit him like a glove, to the point where, on Rose Royce's Wishing on a Star, his oak-aged vocal seems a better fit for the remorseful lyric than original singer Gwen Dickey's. He grew up with these 1970s hits, and evidently reveres them, but isn't cowed by them – save for Let's Stay Together, which is sung in a higher key than normal, precisely imitating Al Green. If Seal's performances are largely unimpeachable, producers David Foster and Trevor Horn could have shaken up the arrangements more. Most follow the original templates– only on Bill Withers's Lean on Me, where warm keyboard washes replace the original's gospel handclaps, do they extend themselves.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Seal: 6: Commitment | CD review
There are moments of magic on Seal's sixth original album, but Dave Simpson is disappointed at the prevalence of overpolished, formulaic music

Dave Simpson

16, Sep, 2010 @10:59 PM

Article image
Seal: The reluctant pop star
Reluctant star Seal had to be bullied into kickstarting his career – 24 years later, he’s still in search of the perfect song. He talks to Angus Batey

Angus Batey

16, Sep, 2010 @10:00 PM

Various: True Soul Volume 2 – review
The lack of an Otis or Smokey meant True Soul never became famous, but Maddy Costa finds true soul pleasure in its back catalogue

Maddy Costa

21, Jul, 2011 @9:20 PM

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings: Soul Time! – review
Soul Time! feels like merchandise-stall fodder – what really counts with this band is the blistering live show, writes Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

27, Oct, 2011 @9:45 PM

Lucky Soul: A Coming of Age | CD review
There's no justice when Duffy can become a star and Lucky Soul languish in obscurity. By Maddy Costa

Maddy Costa

08, Apr, 2010 @10:30 PM

Article image
Stevie Wonder, Soul Revolution: Live in '72


Alexis Petridis

30, Sep, 2005 @1:23 AM

Seal – review

Twenty-two years since his hit Killer made him a household name, Seal remains a natural pop star and waggish entertainer, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

10, Dec, 2012 @6:05 PM

The soul of Memphis

No one personified the birthplace of American pop better than the great Isaac Hayes, writes Andria Lisle

Andria Lisle

14, Aug, 2008 @11:01 PM

Adele: 21 – review
Adele follows 19 with an album that suggests she'll get invited to make 23 and 25 as well. By Will Dean

Will Dean

20, Jan, 2011 @9:59 PM

Duffy: Endlessly – review
Duffy's second album is again expertly tailored to boomer tastes, but lacks the killer songs, says Will Dean

Will Dean

25, Nov, 2010 @10:40 PM