Album Review: Seal, 'Soul 2'

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SEAL
Soul 2
Producers: David Foster, Trevor Horn
Reprise Records
Release Date: Jan. 24

Seal is probably the last guy who should be singing a line like, "I don't know where to look for love/I just don't know how." After all, the British singer's soulful tones have undoubtedly induced plenty of swooning during the past 20 years. On this sequel to his 2008 "Soul" covers album, the vocalist takes on another 11 classics with highly skilled reverence. He and producers Trevor Horn and David Foster keep things reverent here; the most dramatic change-up is a lush, orchestrated delivery for the first two minutes of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" before the rhythm section kicks in, paying homage right down to the percussive nuances. There are a couple of subtle vocal vamps in the Spinners' "I'll Be Around" and Teddy Pendergrass' "Love T.K.O." But they pass by almost unnoticed while his renditions of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," the Miracles' "Ooh Baby Baby," Bill Withers' "Lean On Me" and a pair of Rose Royce tracks ("Wishing On a Star," "Love Don't Live Here Anymore") are more passionate than perfunctory. They never supersede the originals, but hardly suffer in comparison.

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