Music That Inspires: Seal

I like Seal.

Not the animal, although I find them cute. I mean the musician Seal. I find his voice fascinating and his music and lyrics full of emotion. Over the last year I have bought most of his albums. I was already familiar with his music, but I did not have any full albums, only a handful of songs featured on soundtracks.

I have all of this studio albums except for the most recent and the two Soul compilation albums. Below are a selection of some of my favorite songs. In case anyone is curious, my favorite album is Human Being. The album did not fair well with critics, however, I enjoy the darker tone of the songs. My second favorite album is Seal: Commitment. The interesting part about both these albums is that Seal wrote them in response to his relationships, the first being with Tyra Banks and the second with Heidi Klum. 

I enjoy the power of this song. I think it shows off Seal’s range, particularly with his harmonies. That it is perhaps my favorite part about Seal’s music. His harmonies are fantastic, and half the time that I sing the songs I will only sing the harmonies. This song is a good example of how he layers his vocals, with each track slightly different.

This song has a special meaning because my godson sang this to his boyfriend shortly after they were both kicked out of his boyfriend’s home once he came out to his parents. My godson had his band record several parts of the song — the drums and keyboards — and he and the bassist and other guitarist played their parts live. His boyfriend had no idea it would happen.

The song that no one could ever get right on American Idol. I knew it from Batman Forever. It was one of the few things I liked about the film. Like Prayer for the Dying, I love this song for its harmonies. The bridge of the song is by far the best part. This is one of the songs I told my godson’s band to practice to learn to harmonize better. It is tricky because the harmonies come in off beat sometimes and also a little behind each other. It easier to hear with headphones than over speakers.

I love this song, especially the way that it builds. Seal’s voice raspier on this track than normal, which I assume was intentional. I think it works for the song. It gives it a longing feeling that fits what appears to be a failing relationship. My favorite part is the end of the song.

Possibly one of the best apology songs out there. The bridge makes this song. The violins, the building tension, and the sincerity of Seal’s voice. One gets the feeling he wrote the song because he had done something wrong to Klum and wanted to apologize.

I love the subtle playing Seal does with the lyrics. He holds back his range, and it gives the song an almost indifferent tone, as if he has tried, failed, still wants the relationship, but has accepted it is over. It is also a song I simply like to sing.

Speaking of the latter, during the summer my godson fell and got a concussion. When he was released from the hospital he seemed fine at first, but later passed out again while in the shower. His doctor recommended that he stay home and rest. She banned him from playing games, his guitar, watching TV, or doing anything that took a lot of activity. He was left lying in bed because the medication he received made him sleepy, so I decided to keep him company while he slept.

At the time, I had just gotten Human Being, and I was singing the songs to him even though he was too dazed to pay attention. Or so I thought. When I got to the bridge of this song, he piped up and said, “I’m not dead yet. Stop singing Sade songs.” Later on, he and one of my friends tracked down the song (it would have been easier to ask me) because all my godson could remember were the melody of the lyrics, but not the words themselves.

I think is was a precursor to Seal doing his first Soul album. It has the feeling of old soul songs, particularly something from the 1970s.

This is a very catchy song. I cannot figure out why this was not released as a single. This is the kind of song that begs for a single summer release.

I am not the biggest fan of Seal’s dance songs. Dance music usually does not do much for me, yet I found this one very good. Another reason I like it is because of my godson’s boyfriend dances and spontaneously danced to this song. He is fairly good, and it was interesting watching him anticipate the song while dancing like Michael Jackson.

I love songs where the music contrasts with the lyrics. One would expect a song about personal problems and turmoil would have a more morose sound. The upbeat music gives it a completely different tone.

This is my favorite Seal song. It has a special meaning for me. Should I ever get married, I want to sing to exchange vows. I would not want her to know I would do it either. I would like to be a surprise to make it more special.

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