13 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years after bursting out of the U.K. rave scene as the voice of Adamski’s “Killer,” Seal rediscovers his club-music roots on 2007’s System. Taking a break from longtime producer Trevor Horn, here Seal chose to work with electronic producer Stuart Price, best known for his techno remixes for artists like No Doubt, The Killers, and Coldplay. Price has a knack for turning authentic dance beats into all-inclusive pop tunes, but it's Seal who's responsible for the depth and texture of these songs. “If It’s In My Mind, It’s on My Face,” “Amazing," and “System” might feel generic if another artist sang them, but Seal uses his voice's full range to turn these light techno songs into works of beauty. Even a duet with Heidi Klum, “Wedding Day,” is saved by virtue of Seal’s gravity as a singer. The guitars in “Dumb” and “Just Like Before” suggest that these songs have roots in acoustic songwriting, but System stays remarkably faithful to its vision of club music; this is proven by “The Right Life,” the most hypnotic piece of house music Seal has made since releasing “Crazy” in 1991.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Nearly 20 years after bursting out of the U.K. rave scene as the voice of Adamski’s “Killer,” Seal rediscovers his club-music roots on 2007’s System. Taking a break from longtime producer Trevor Horn, here Seal chose to work with electronic producer Stuart Price, best known for his techno remixes for artists like No Doubt, The Killers, and Coldplay. Price has a knack for turning authentic dance beats into all-inclusive pop tunes, but it's Seal who's responsible for the depth and texture of these songs. “If It’s In My Mind, It’s on My Face,” “Amazing," and “System” might feel generic if another artist sang them, but Seal uses his voice's full range to turn these light techno songs into works of beauty. Even a duet with Heidi Klum, “Wedding Day,” is saved by virtue of Seal’s gravity as a singer. The guitars in “Dumb” and “Just Like Before” suggest that these songs have roots in acoustic songwriting, but System stays remarkably faithful to its vision of club music; this is proven by “The Right Life,” the most hypnotic piece of house music Seal has made since releasing “Crazy” in 1991.

TITLE TIME

Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

DLOBERK ,

Very good to a newbie's ears...

I am more or less a newbie to Seal. I've heard of him and his more popular tracks from earlier in his career but he wasn't really on my radar when he originally hit the scene. I was into other music genres then. I like this album and I am very familiar with the electronic/dance genre and I believe they've captured a certain atmosphere and mood with this album. The songs connect well together and the music flows. I don't think Heidi should quit her day job though based on her performance on the "Wedding Day" duet. To another reviewer: why does a good or great beat have to be out of date? Perhaps dating myself a bit, for example there will rarely be beats as original and soulful as those played on the classic James Brown hits that are part of the continuum of music. So, to you diehard Seal fans, give it another listen or two. If still disappointed, then it is what it is. For those who liked Madonna's "Confessions on a Dance Floor" you might recognize the sound mastering of producer Stuart Price throughout this album. Finally, Seal has a great voice - one of the best. He is blessed to have it and it shines on this album.

N3XUS7 ,

After careful thought, one of the best yet

To begin, I'm a Seal fanatic. I have listened to each of his earlier releases many, many times, and was somewhat dissapointed by Seal IV ("Waiting for You" and "Love's Divine" nonwithstanding). I certainly had high hopes about System, and when "Amazing" was released, I was even more excited.

When I first listened to the album, I was, frankly, a bit dismayed. Nothing stuck with me as exceptional, save maybe the title track and "Amazing." After many listenings, however, much as I experienced with "Human Being," I have come to love this album. Even "Wedding Day," save for the rather plodding chorus, has a special place in my heart. The songs are much more Seal 1991-ish, in line with the plans to make this a dance album. "System" and "Amazing" still stand out, but "If It's...", "The Right Life," and the rest shine with great hooks, great lyrics (nothing like "Crazy," but still better than mainstream), and style like only Seal can deliver.

In short, if you don't take to this album initially, give it some time. You may be surprised to discover an album much more in keeping with Seal's earlier genius than you first realized.

Mad Monk 11 ,

Whoah! Bring it on!

Seal's debut came out when I was a teenager, and with the exception of Human Being, which I picked up around the same time as Seal IV, I've gotten his albums as soon as they came out, and they have been major influences on me personally. I'd say Seal is one of the great artists in my 12,000 song music collection. And contrary to when I was younger, when I would only occasionally buy music, and each CD (if it was good) would get a lot of play time and become quite important to me, over the last few years I have been picking up as many as a dozen albums a month. Many albums don't get much play at all in my house these days. But when I downloaded this album, System, it became grossly apparent that Seal's music is still a cut above the hundreds of artists that I am getting exposed to. This is powerful stuff, and will definitely be on my "most played" playlist.

As for the album, I would say that it is not as dark as Human Being, not as diverse as Seal IV, and not as R&B influenced as the 1991 album. It is some of the most accessible and highest quality synthpop you'll find. Seal being an island of sorts in the musical community, the word "synthpop" might turn you into the wrong direction by causing associations with the likes of Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. Actually, the beats on System are moderate to fairly fast paced, with almost every track being extremely danceable. Seal still manages to weave a vibe of positivity and depth into his songs with his ethereal vocals and gentle synthesizer overlays draped superbly over the brisk but deep percussion beats. Seal is still comfortable importing stringed and classical style arrangements where appropriate for some very visceral and sensitive tracks. Production is still seamless. So much so that talking about individual tracks is almost pointless. The album must be spoken of as an intricate and variegated unit of beauty that holds the listener by the hand and takes him or her on a trip through a delightful range of rhythms, blending continuously present aspects of originality and creativity with an accessibility and pleasantness finely tuned to release the maximum amount of endorphins possible.

This may just be Seal's best album ever. If not, it is certainly on par with his best. This album deserves great sales and much radio time. Hurry up and download this diamond of musical delight and have a listen. You'll be impressed.

More By Seal

You May Also Like