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Seal is probably most known for hits, Kiss From A Rose and Killer with Adamski. After two successful albums, Seal's third album, Human Being became a commercial disappointment and a mixed bag between most critics. It was released in 1998 and peaked at number 44 in the charts and is certificated silver in the UK and Gold in the US. As in the previous albums, it's produced by Trevor Horn.
The album is mostly Soul with a darker side that will appeal to pop fans. The overall sound has a low tempo and mostly contains ballads. This shows the more fragile side to Seal's vocals, but his voice still works very well. It's a departure from his dance routes present in his first album. The quality in Seal's vocals hasn't dropped from the previous album, Seal II.
The album gets a very strong opening with the melodic track, Human Beings. There's a lot of build up in the instruments and the production on this track. The chorus makes me think that there has been some influences by the likes of Björk and Kate Bush. I think this is my favourite song on the album. It's a mellow track, but I like the deepness in the track.
"Please Human being, if you bleed they will say it was destined." - First part of the chorus in Human Beings
I can understand that people can consider this album rather dull or boring because of how dark and gloomy the overall sound is compared to his other works. It could be considered boring and a drag. It took me a while to fully appreciate State Of Grace despite it's lack of structure. A rise in tempo, which comes as a surprise in Latest Craze, which is another track I adore from this one. Seal has put his stamp on this one. It's a very personal track and the overall industrial feel works.
"The princess and the liar,
Her dress is catchin' fire.
Daddy's little lemon ain't
All she's meant to be" - Princess
An acoustic atmosphere is much more present in Just Like You, Princess and Lost . Princess is an odd little track which sounds randomly thrown in and sounds very out of place. It's completely inferior to Lost My Faith and Just Like You. Lost My Faith is another favourite of mine in the album: something a lot of us can relate to sometimes.
Excerpt Form is very much ahead of it's time. I was blown away by the electronic and modern vibes on this track. It's very similar to his song, My Vision and a lot of the songs from his album, System. The acoustic nature returns with When A Man Is Wrong and comes back one last time in the penultimate track No Easy Way. I like When A Man Is Wrong a lot. The humble guitar riffs are a perfect setting to this song. I don't think the grand pianos and what other instruments in the background where needed because it's the guitar and Seal's voice that carries the song just fine.
"Now if I was a holy man
And you were the devil in a song
And if I liked what you played
Does that mean you're right and I'm wrong." - When A Man Is Wrong
Seal reaches some very nice high notes in Still Love Remains. A jazzy atmosphere is present and the classic soul element in Seal's voice makes me enjoy the track. The final track is a reprise that carries off where Human Beings left off.
Another solid release for Seal, though it's also very strange album. The more I listen to it the less gloomy it sounds, and most of the tracks are a grower. I loved the mixture of dark atmospheres and the lyrics on this album the most as well as Seal's vocals. It certainly shows off Seal's raw imagination and creativity at his best while showing some very personal tracks. Having loved the album, I would most certainly recommend it. I don't think that this is an album that would suit everybody, even every Seal fan. It's defiantly an underrated album, but also a beautiful one.
1. Human Beings - "They'll be punching tickets for the minute you fall out of line." 5/5
2. State of Grace - "Can't seem to find our state of grace." 4/5
3. Latest Craze - "I'm doing something, frankly I don't think that I should." 5/5
4. Just Like You- "Yesterday it hit me, I felt you were slipping away." 5/5
5. Princess - "Daddy's little lemon ain't all she's meant to be." 3/5
6. Lost My Faith - "I had lost my faith long ago." 5/5
7. Excerpt From - "Taking you higher." 5/5
8. When A Man Is Wrong - "I sometimes get things wrong to get things right." 5/5
9. Colour - "Midnight sees your friend. Oh could you call his name? Would you know his name?" 4/5
10. Still Love Remains - "We burn so brightly. Love so fast. Yet we still remain." 5/5
11. No Easy Way - "Plain to see we're doing something wrong." 5/5
12. Human Beings Reprise - "When you lose your self-esteem, that's when love dies." 5/5
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Human Beings
2 State Of Grace
3 Latest Craze
4 Just Like You Said
6 I Have Lost My Faith
7 Excerpts From
8 When A Man Is Wrong
10 Still Love Remains
11 No Easy Way
12 Human Beings (2)