Audio Mixer: Tim Weidner.
Recording information: Sarm Studios, London; Sarm West Coast, LA.
Photographer: Hélène Pambrun.
Seal 7 followed the all-covers 2012 set Soul 2 and was the singer's first set of original material since the 2010 release Seal 6: Commitment. More significantly, it was his first originals-oriented collaboration with longtime creative partner and friend Trevor Horn since 2003's Seal 4, and it was made in the wake of the singer's divorce from Heidi Klum. The first single, "Every Time I'm with You," a grand and swirling ballad with an orchestral arrangement from Anne Dudley, showed that Seal had no desire to make his return all about romantic conflict, as it placed him in the setting of a new relationship, willfully abandoning caution: "I can lose it all, it won't be daunting." Another song that reached the public prior to the album, the Jamie Odell co-composition "Life on the Dancefloor," also dealt with being swept up, though in the club through a low-key groove. As with Seal's previous albums, however, Seal 7 does cover a range of emotions. The heavier songs, including the opening "Daylight Saving," the almost overblown "Padded Cell," and "The Big Love Has Died," with a title and scope worthy of Seal 4 -- are among the most resonant moments. While one could speculate how those songs and the remainder of Seal 7 relate directly to Seal's life, it's clear that the singer and Horn aimed, as they always have, for broad appeal; just about anyone can connect with the pain and elation they relate. They've stuck to the approach that has made them a successful duo since "Crazy," all the way down to the dark synthesized undercurrents. The spirit of Seal 7 proves that they had no reason to change course. ~ Andy Kellman