Seal IV
Warner Brothers Records


Seal IV art.jpg (31487 bytes)


  Somewhere along the way, Seal lost that spark that was so hard to miss when he first appeared in the early ‘90s. On his latest release, he occasionally recalls it but generally; the songs percolate when they should boil. Perhaps stiff production is to blame as the performer’s voice is still wonderfully soulful. Most of the record sounds like ‘90s production of an ‘80s artist trying to sound retro-‘70s. This is most notable on the opening cut “Get It Together.” This would be world peace and unification anthem recalls the spirit of Marvin Gaye without any of the edge that made Gaye’s work (and to a lesser degree, Seal’s early work) so important. On the other side, “Touch” is obviously heartfelt but so sugary and schmaltzy that it’s almost hard to hear. It’s different on “My Vision.” This is what Seal should sound like now. It’s got his trademark warmth but feels like its moving forward. “Heavenly (Good Feeling)” is the other standout. The heavy bottom anchors a track filled with floating vocals and feelings. It shows what Seal can still do when given an opportunity. It’s a shame that the balance of this collection is so edgeless and dated feeling. It’s all good…just not special.


Chris McKay /