“Soul” is the sixth studio album from multi-platinum selling, Grammy-winning, critically acclaimed Seal. Each song is a stone-cold soul classic, from Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’, and Ann Pebbles’ ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’ to Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes’ ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ and Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’.
“A Change is Gonna Come” – Yes, Sam Cooke’s version is burning with soul and Seal’s version is glossier–but if it doesn’t give you goosebumps then perhaps you aren’t really listening.
“I Can’t Stand The Rain” – Why Seal chose this song–especially as the second track–is beyond me. Seal has never sounded so tired.
“It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” – It’s a shame that this comes out sounding so sleek and soulless. James Brown sang it with a massive amount of soul and Seal just floats along.
“Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” – Painful. This song doesn’t match up well with Seal’s voice. It sounds like he is going through the motions.
“Knock On Wood” – Disappointing.
“Stand By Me” – The whole thing gets off badly from the beginning with a bad electronic piano and never recovers no matter how hard Seal tries.
This is a hard review to write as a Seal fan. Problem #1: Seal is too good to do an album full of cover songs. Problem #2: Seal can take risks and could have took on songs from rock bands, country artists and others. Instead he covered easy pop songs. Problem #3: Seal picked songs that weren’t even all that great when they were released: “Here I Am (Come and Take Me).”
I would have liked to see Seal do some Sinatra, Elvis, country and rock songs. Seal doing the Police or even a song like Oasis’ “Wonderwall” would have been interesting. Instead we are handed an album where Seal phoned it in. David Foster lead Seal down the wrong road and delivered a soulless album.
Watch the video for “A Change Is Gonna Come”