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- 1Daylight Saving04:51
- 2Every Time I'm With You04:31
- 3Life On The Dancefloor05:15
- 4Padded Cell04:08
- 5Do You Ever04:37
- 6The Big Love Has Died04:30
- 7Redzone Killer04:23
- 9Half A Heart03:55
- 10Let Yourself04:26
Info for 7
After 30 million album sales, four Grammys and three BRIT Awards, Seal has reunited with the legendary producer Trevor Horn for his new album ‘7’.
The album represents the duo’s first collection of original material since 2003, having previously created such defining hits as ‘Kiss From A Rose’, ‘Killer’ and ‘Crazy’.
Throughout ‘7’, Seal explores love and all of its implications, idiosyncrasies, and intricacies.
“The album concerns the most sung about, most talked about, and most documented emotion – love,” he explains. “I tried to capture all of the wonderfully different dynamics of love, whether it’s the anger, the acceptance, the bliss, the sadness, the elation, or the recklessness. It’s this emotion and the ways it makes us feel. It’s about the extreme joy and the extreme regret as well as all of the crazy things love makes us do.”
The album’s first single ‘Do You Ever’ was today premiered by Ken Bruce at Radio 2.
‘7’ restarts Seal’s storied partnership with Trevor Horn that began with his 1991 #1 debut album ‘Seal’ and continued with the huge #1 follow-up ‘Seal II’ (1994), 1998’s ‘Human Being’, 2003’s ‘Seal IV’, and most recently ‘Soul 2’ (2011). As a result, there’s an unspoken, yet unbreakable bond they share.
“We barely spoke about music in the studio,” Seal admits. “We talked more about life and our relationship over the years. He just understands how to place my voice. On the one hand, you have this elaborate production and signature of Trevor Horn, but you never lose sight of what it is I’m saying. That’s the narrative. There’s no producer who understands how to sustain and keep focused on the narrative of my voice and what I’m trying to say better than Trevor does. He pushes me, and we left it all on the court. He taught me a work ethic and approach to making records that will stay with me until the day I die.”
One of the album’s highlights is ‘Every Time I’m With You’ which begins with a stark piano melody punctuated by Seal’s instantly recognisable croon before it builds into a climactic, soulful refrain that resounds over a rich musical panorama.
“I just tried to imagine the one thing your significant other would most want to hear from you,” he says. “You ask your partner, ‘Why do you love me? Why are you with me?’ and the response is, ‘There are many reasons, but one of the main reasons is, every time I’m with you, I feel wanted.’ I can’t think of many things that are more beautiful, which I’d either want to say or hear. It was my attempt at being romantic! Whether or not, I achieved it, only time will tell,” he laughs.
Elsewhere on the album, Seal goes right to the heart of the club with a ‘Life On The Dancefloor’ which pairs a syncopated house beat wrapped in horns with a massive hook. He artfully juxtaposes that spark with the intense wail of ‘Padded Cell’ bolstered by propulsive synths and a robust delivery. However, the record’s centrepiece is his personal favourite, the sombre yet striking ‘The Big Love Has Died’. Everything culminates on ‘Love’. Pairing his voice with just a piano, it’s his most vulnerable and vital moment as he declares, “Love only makes you strong, love only makes you heal, love only hates with love.”
Produced by Trevor Horn, Seal, Jamie Odell
When Seal was a teenager in England, a new wave of American soul turned his head.
“I remember songs like ‘Love T.K.O.’ and ‘Wishing on a Star’ and ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ — I just remember those songs being so unique-sounding when they came on the radio,” he says. “They had a big impact on me, because they were just very different from a lot of R&B that we were hearing. They were huge influences on my life and my outlook on writing music when I was growing up.”
Seal pays loving homage to that vibrant time in his own musical life with Soul 2, his eighth studio album, bringing his immense talents and deep sensibilities to songs that were coming out of Detroit, Memphis and especially Philadelphia, a sound that in England became known as Northern Soul. Working with producer Trevor Horn (who launched Seal’s career and produced his first four albums) and on four songs David Foster (who produced Seal’s first foray into the classics catalog, the international hit 2008 album Soul, and 2010‘s Commitment), Seal at once internalizes and evokes the spirit of such musical giants as Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, Smokey Robinson, Bill Withers, the Spinners and the O’Jays.
Recording was done in settings ranging from elaborate orchestra sessions to a few vocals performed in Horn’s garage. The result is a variety of inventive textures, maximizing the spirit of both the songs and the singer. Support came from a wealth of all-star musicians, including Horn on bass and guitar, Foster on keyboards, with orchestral and brass arrangements by Pete Murray, Julian Hinton and Foster.
Seal’s first Soul album captured, by-and-large, the spirit of the ‘60s, with songs of Sam Cooke (a glorious version of “A Change Is Gonna Come”), Otis Redding among others, selling 3 million copies worldwide and standing as the top-selling album of the decade in France. Soul 2 leans more to the ‘70s, digging deep into a time in which artists explored new heights of personal expression and cultural openness with equal measures of inventive creativity and populist immediacy. As a set it features love songs (the Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl,” Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby”), out-of-love songs (Pendergrass’ “Love T.K.O.,” Rose Royce’s “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”) and some that are both (the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around”).
And threading through it there are songs born of the shifting mores and cultural contours of the times that, in turn, helped define the era (Gaye’s iconic “What’s Going On,” the O’Jays’ angry “Backstabbers”). Where Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was the emotional center of the first Soul set, a bridge between the civil rights movement and the surge of social consciousness in the U.S. in the late ‘00s, such Soul 2 songs as Gaye’s indelible “What’s Going On” and Withers’ “Lean on Me” bridge their era with today’s uncertainties.
“It was something that we felt we wanted to do, but not in the typical way, so we went more for sort of connoisseurs’ choices rather than the obvious hits,” he says. “Essentially it’s an album of love songs. However it’s such as my habit that there has to be something that inspires me on a social-comment level and there has to be something that inspires me on a — it’s such an overused term, but on a spiritual level.”
As a set, they show a time that defies capsulizing and cliches, a time of complex emotions and issues. And it allows Seal to expand the range and talents he’s shown throughout his career, on such hits as his international Top 10 1990 debut “Crazy” and the 1995 U.S. No. 1 “A Kiss From a Rose,” which earned him Grammy Awards for song of the year, record of the year and best male pop vocal performance.
“When it came to making Soul 2 I decided not to go for the obvious hits, if you like, or more songs of that earlier period. Instead we went for songs that were popular in England when I was growing up and take a slightly different approach in terms of the actual sound, hence Trevor Horn’s involvement.”
Horn, also born and raised in England, shared Seal’s great affection for this material and brought in his sense for engaging musical tapestries that have fueled not just Seal but Yes (as both producer and member), Robbie Williams, Jeff Beck, Pet Shop Boys, Paul McCartney and many others.
This album contains no booklet.