Album Review: Seal – “System”

System is Seal’s fifth studio album, which was released on November 12, 2007. I was actually quite surprised to see the album actually had a title, instead of being titled Seal or Seal V.

Sonically, this album sees Seal returning to the dance-pop roots he had back in 1991 with his first self-titled album. This is not to say he simply recycles old sounds; he takes the elements of those early songs and adds a modern update to those elements. System is definitely more dance-friendly and uptempo than some of Seal’s material in recent years. I also hear an excellent melding of electronics and guitars throughout the album.

Overall, the album flows rather well. The only real problem is near the end, when two slower numbers are sequenced back-to-back (“Rolling” and “Immaculate”). That’s not to say that they’re bad songs, it’s just that having these two particular songs back-to-back made that section a bit of a tedious listen.

One thing I wondered when I looked at the tracklist for System was why the remix of “Amazing” appeared on the album before the original version; the remix is track #2, and the original version closes the album. After listening to the album, the only thought I had was that perhaps it was felt that the remix segued better out of track #1 (“If It’s in My Mind, It’s on My Face”) than the original did.

In promotion leading up to the album’s release, it was played up that Seal’s wife, supermodel Heidi Klum, performed a duet on the album (“Wedding Day”). I have to admit that when I heard this, I was rather unsure about the song when I sat down to listen to System. But, surprisingly, Heidi actually has a decent voice. In fact, I thought that Seal and Heidi’s voices complemented each other pretty nicely. The song was better than I expected, but it does become a little redundant near the end.

Overall, System is a pretty decent album. The songs have a good sound to them, although there’s really only one song I can hear as a single on it (which is “Amazing,” the lead-off single). But I would definitely recommend this album to anyone who has ever enjoyed Seal’s music in the past.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of System that my husband and I purchased.

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