Ayo Jegede
reviews editor
September 15, 2003
Amazon Disco:
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November 9, 2004
Warner Bros / Wea
Seal IV Seal IV
September 9, 2003
Warner Bros / Wea
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Seal [IV]

one could only wonder if John Keats had decided to lock Endymion or Ode to Psyche in a vault and prepare other projects to take their place. what if Milton was so bashful about Paradise Lost/Regained that he refused any kind of public display, fearing that its inferiority would trail his literary career? what if Page thought that IV was an anorexic example of better things? the point is that even if these artists released works which surpassed those they decided to keep, we wouldn't know. the locked up works may or may not have exhausted their artistic competence, but the problem is that we weren't furnished with a thorough enough library of their work to make a fair decision.

Seal's new album is almost an attempt to lock up 1998, when he released the unpopular but far superior Human Beings. the album was a dense, moody articulation of various human features. in it he tackled religious doubt ('Lost My Faith'), racism ('Colour'), and the overriding evanescent feature of human existence ('Human Being'). but of course these issues were far too complex and unyielding for someone whose popularity beforehand was in Adult Contemporary. so Seal [IV] can be construed as a means to remove or at least mitigate Human Being's status to a blip on his career. though this may not be what Seal had in mind, it is what the sound evokes. Seal [IV] is an attempt to revert to simpler pop notions and routine. the album is ripe with so much predictability that the entire project sounds immensely ostensible. Trever Horn, the producer, put too much of an emphasis on the facile nature of Seal's voice. though rich, it becomes entirely too secondary without attitudinal range. the lyrics are redundant and gush hyperbolic sentiments of love bordering on religious. this album earns a 5 not because it has little redeeming qualities, but because it unfairly pigeonholes the artist. maybe this album should have been put into a vault.

Release date: September 9, 2003
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Rating: 5.0 / 10