As the follow-up to 2008's Soul, Soul 2 moves up a decade from '60s soul into the '70s. Producers Trevor Horn, David Foster, and Jochem van der Saag keep things sleek and polished, smooth and sweet, while Seal settles in and does what he does best: singing classic songs with conviction. '70s soul music was often beautifully orchestrated, and that's true for this collection. Seal pulls off what seems impossible on the surface. He nails Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby," hitting with ease notes that are close to the heavens. Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" is a solid re-creation of groove and production, capturing the original version's vibe. Seal doesn't back down from the challenge. These are top-shelf soul numbers. Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," Bill Withers' "Lean On Me," Teddy Pendergrass' "Love T.K.O.," and The O'Jays' "Back Stabbers" are all given care and affection worthy of their legendary status.