Review : Seal - System
BillboardSomewhere between brain music and body music sits Seal. His enlistment of former dance/electronic artist Stuart Price to produce his fifth full-length doesn't represent a move in one of those directions. After Seal's singular baritone—which is getting even more pleasingly throaty as he ages—the songs are the focus here. Some hum and build like good club tracks ("Loaded"); some launch as acoustic guitar pieces and pick up steady kick drums along the way ("Dumb," album standout "Rolling"). But they're all melodious, lyrical and as intimate as any singer/songwriter's sparser work. Even a duet with wife Heidi Klum ("Wedding Day") is more sweet than saccharine. But the best part: The 10 songs are all strong, and placed in an order that creates an emotional arc, like a real—what's that word again?—album. —Kerri Mason...full text
NytimesLike most mixtapes this one is padded out with rhymes from protégés, though Jim Jones and Juelz Santana (the two most popular members of Cam’ron’s crew, the Diplomats, known as Dip Set) are conspicuously absent. Instead a handful of tracks are given over to Tom Gist and Penz, heretofore obscure rappers who reverse the usual template. On this mixtape it’s the rookies who provide earnest verses about ghetto misery and the veteran who sounds brash and heedless, delivering one taunt after another....full text
PopmattersOver the course of a career that’s spanned 15 years and some change, Seal has crafted an image as an ethereal balladeer. His rough-hewn soulful croon has contrasted nicely with his music over the years. A music which has mostly comprised tasteful mid-tempo pop and beautifully orchestrated moodier cuts that hint at new age and dream-pop textures. After four increasingly lush Trevor Horn-produced albums, you’ve gotta figure that it was time for Seal to try something a little different. So Seal’s new record, System, is a departure if you’re familiar only with Seal’s more recent or more popular music....full text
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