My colleague at the office is very much into music and we often discuss it during lunch hours. Occassionally he lends me a CD and this time he insisted that I take this CD Soul 2 by Seal, a noted UK pop singer as they were renditions of the American classics that he knew I liked.
I personally liked all of the eleven renditions though 'what's going on' and 'wishing on a star' stand out.
Seal's deep husky baritone voice is very expressive and sounds as exhilirating and rich as an aged burma teakwood. His version of the 'wishing on a star' sounds more compelling than that of the original and brings out clearly the contriteness of the song. It does really spell-bound you and fell the emotions coming alive.
BTW, the songs are mostly renditions from the soul romantics of 1970's and follow the American original's to the letter 'T' which might be disconcerting for those heavily hooked onto this kind of music but is remarkably fresh and genuine to the more passive listener. If imitation is the best form of flattery, Seal has indulged in it liberally but then he cannot be accused of not imparting abundance of passion and his singular baritone voice makes each one of the scores honestly unique and very 'Sealusque'.
What can be said for Seal can hardly be mentioned for its producers. There has been virtually no attempt to impart any newness or virtuosity to those popular American classics. Most of it are exact copies and wherever they have tried something like replacing handclaps with short ethereal keyboard washes it fails to brings about the
nuances of the score.
The album notes that this cover album is an effort by longtime Seal collaborators David Foster and Trevor Horn to return and co-produce the singer's second volume of classic soul covers, including versions of Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," and Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," among others. I googled to find out that Seal's 2008 album sold 3 million copies worldwide and wish the same for this one too. Seal has done full justice to these classic and at times have excelled the original with his unique singing abilities and singular voice.
Listening to it has been, no doubt, a Christmas present even before the Christmas celebrations have yet started.
Also reviewed for Ciao Uk under same name and title
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wishing on a Star
2 Love TKO
3 Ohh Baby Baby
4 Let's Stay Together
5 What's Going On?
6 Love Don't Live Here Anymore
8 I'll be Around
9 Love Won't Let me Wait
10 Lean on Me
11 Oh Girl