Seal has carved out a quite niche for himself in adult-contemporary music. He burst onto the major label scene with quite an edge (urban legends regarding the cause of his facial scars repeatedly centered upon a dark past as a male prostitute) and captured a global audience with his debut album. He is a multi-instrumentalist, writes (or helps to write) most of his original material and has always excelled in the live forum. He deserves all of his success. Seal IV
, however, finds him retreading old ground and misguidedly attempting to claim new territory.
The ballads are the album's strongest material; uptempo dance-driven numbers like "Let Me Roll" remind me of my six-foot-seven-inch uncle doing the Funky Chicken at my cousin's wedding. "Loneliest Star", a dreamy ballad in the same vein as "Kiss From a Rose", seems destined to be the next single -- note its measured tone and cardboard cut-out crescendo.
I was relatively pleased by most of these songs, but on principle I'll point out that IV isn't miles ahead of the Seal material that's already easily available online and broadcast hourly on Top 40 radio.