Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Seal-Seal (1991)


This next share of mine gets the official gold seal of groove approved! While returning to my current mission of getting the 'S' artists in my music library organized and in order, I decided to reacquaint my ears with the soulful British phenom who sparked my interest on the popular soft rock radio airwaves with the mainstay hits "Love's Divine" and "Kiss From A Rose". That spark wasn't ignited, however, until well into the early 2000's. Little did I know that a man I had absolutely no knowledge or familiarity with had already been an iconic artist way back in the early 90's.....while I was still in middle school! For the longest time, I had ever hear a complete Seal album from start to finish, and so far, this 1991 self-titled debut is the only one where I've accomplished that feat. Neither of the two aforementioned hits are on this particular album, but there at least a couple of other selections that made the charts and received rave reviews. Just one of those chart-makers stays retained in my mental jukebox: "Killer". I recall fist hearing this one in an electrifying techno remix format, but the original too is instantly likable with its thumping upbeat rhythm and the slightly-synthesized electric rock guitar riffs, with the ambient drones during the long instrumental break partway through adding an extra layer of appeal above that thumping beat. I'd always remembered how his voice soared over the words in the verses, particularly when he sings the 'will we die' part. His words, in fact, often take me a few listens to digest and extrapolate the meaning of (here on "Killer", the lines of 'solitary brother, is there a part of you that wants to live?' and 'solitary sister, is there a part of you that wants to give?' are the ones I found the most intriguing), which is why I tend to put him on the same songwriting wavelength as such similar alternative artists as Terence Trent D'Arby, Tracy Chapman and Lenny Kravitz. "Crazy" would be the other widely-recognized hit here, but I want to say that all memory of this one had since faded before I listened to it again last night. I was drawn, of course, by the sound first—the breezy rhythm and the glitzy electronic spark in the opening movements—before I paid closer attention to the words, silently applauding the ' we won't survive unless we get a little crazy ' message because it really makes a whole lot of sense, especially in this day in age. One song that requires some very deep thought: "Deep Water". There's a cool two-part arrangement about this one that I like; it starts off as an acoustic guitar-driven piece before evolving into a groovy ambient tune with lots of soul and the curious analogy of jade being a shade of pain. I feel like I need to listen in again to capture he entire meaning. And that's my sentiments about "Future Love Paradise" as well. Digging the lively and easy-listening, funky rock rhythm on this one, yet the words about kings and queens, plus the portion o the chorus about the only drug the riders finding is paradise, still has me thinking and thinking. Didn't know it the first time, but Track #7's "Wild" is actually a love song about a woman who makes him smile and fills him up inside; besides that small revelation, the music just sounds good here. Then speaking further of music sounding good, that would be what allures me about the warming slow number, "Show Me" (this one has now emerged as my favorite; the combination of the warmth and Seal's touching words of pleading to receive directions on how he can make the lady's life better touches me), the concluding ambient piece, "Violet" (it's no nice getting to bask in the extended instrumental goodness for the latter two-and-a-half minutes of the song) and the dancey house-inspired opening cut, "The Beginning", where his words of 'music takes you round and round an round and round' in the chorus quickly becomes something to get hooked on to before long:

1. The Beginning
2. Deep Water
3. Crazy
4. Killer
5. Whirlpool
6. Future Love Paradise
7. Wild
8. Show Me
9. Violet

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