Personnel: Seal (vocals); Dean Parks, Michael Thompson (guitar); David Foster (piano, keyboards, bass guitar); Jochem van der Saag (organ, synthesizer, drum programming); John "4 Daddman" Robinson, Teddy Campbell (drums); Angela Fisher, Nita Hutton, Toyia Barnes (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Jochem van der Saag.
Audio Remasterer: Brian "Big Bass" Gardner.
Recording information: Capitol Records; Chartmaker Studios; Record Plant.
Unknown Contributor Role: Jochem van der Saag.
Arrangers: Jochem van der Saag; David Foster.
The title of this 2008 release, and the cover art--a b&w photo featuring Seal in a suit and tie crooning into a microphone--should give listeners a fair idea of the album's nature. A glance at the track list, which includes soul classics by Sam Cooke, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, and Otis Redding, confirms the supposition. Seal has been settling more comfortably into his role as an adult contemporary singer, and SOUL, on which the British vocalist interprets 12 American R&B gems in elegant fashion, finds him fully inhabiting the niche once and for all..
Seal may yet join the mainstream ranks of Rod Stewart and Michael Buble with his sophisticated covers and accessible sound, but his singing on SOUL is still full of the passion and intensity that characterize his earlier material. His take on Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" is a case in point, as is his heartfelt reading of Mayfield's "People Get Ready." Veteran producer David Foster gives the album a sleek yet natural feel, further heightening the compelling nature of Seal's performances.
Entertainment Weekly (p.72) - "As always, Seal sounds great; age has relaxed his singing, and that lends the material an appropriately lived-in vibe." -- Grade: B-