There is so much this man can tell you, so much he can say. Seal is my power, my pleasure, my pain. I very frequently assert that Seal is one of the most underrated artists of all time—at least in America. The rest of the world understands. They get how fantastic he is.
But here in the U.S., most people know “Kiss From A Rose” and can maybe name one other song. If you’re sitting there thinking, “Uh, excuse me, but I know plenty of Seal songs tyvm,” then you should send me an email so we can be friends, because that is not the norm. Here’s the thing, though.
Odds are there are about half a dozen songs that you’ve enjoyed over the years that you either didn’t realize were Seal songs or simply don’t think about on a regular basis, but they’re out there. After “Kiss From A Rose” won that Grammy, Seal had another hit with his cover of “Fly Like An Eagle” on the Space Jam soundtrack. Department stores play Seal all the time, much to my pleasant surprise during the year I spent working at the J.C. Penney in the Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold, New Jersey. Seal IV had some straight up bangers, and he’s performed on American Idol finales and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. Remember that duet with then-wife Heidi Klum? Of course you do.
I could go on. No seriously, get me drunk and I can talk about Seal for hours. Ask me about the time he gave me a hug, that giant beautiful man. My point is, you should be listening to more Seal, especially as his 10th studio album, Standards, is set to release next month. Don’t know where to start? I got you. These are the ten best Seal songs that aren’t “Kiss From A Rose,” in their release order.
Disclaimer 1—This list doesn’t include any songs off of his two cover albums, Soul and Soul II, or any other covers, including “Fly Like An Eagle.”
Disclaimer 2—I wanted to do a Top 50 but Kelaine thought that might be a bit much.
Disclaimer 3—Honestly though you should just go back and listen to his entire studio discography start to finish: Seal ; Seal ; Human Being; Seal IV; System; Seal 6: Commitment; 7. What? He likes to name albums after himself.
These first three songs are off Seal’s debut album, Seal , back when he still had hair. It blows my mind how well this album holds up (unlike Seal’s hair). There are at least two or three other songs on this album I could have included, but these are definitely the best three, and the most widely known. “Crazy” and “Killer” were both top 10 singles in the UK, with “Crazy” also reaching #7 in the U.S. “Future Love Paradise,” probably my favorite song on the album, hit #12 in the UK. It’s an incredible, and completely underrated debut.
Seal’s second album, also called Seal, came out in 1994. It’s the album he’s best known for, mostly because it includes “Kiss From A Rose.” It has a bunch of other great tracks, though. Back in ’02/’03, during my aforementioned J.C. Penney days, “Prayer For The Dying” would play over the store radio all the time. It was a rare bright spot in a sea of really awful late ’90s and early ’00s pop. I never fully understood why it was included on that mix, but considering it spawned much of my serious Seal listening after the hype from “Kiss From A Rose” had died down, I’m not complaining. “Don’t Cry” may not have been the biggest hit from the album, but it’s absolutely beautiful, and probably my favorite song ever. Seal also recorded an acoustic version for his 2005 greatest hits album that’s pretty fantastic.
1998’s Human Being combines the dance and techno-inspired sound of the first Seal album with the thoughtfulness and measured pace of the second. It opens with a familiar beat and energy, but it slows down immediately after the first track and only picks back up again a couple times. “Human Beings” is that first track. I like the album a lot, but it’s softer and darker than most of Seal’s other work, which makes sense because he and Tyra Banks had just broken up.
I cheated. I couldn’t help myself. Seal IV is a powerhouse. Released in 2003, it’s his best charting U.S. album, his most energetic album, the album with the clearest identity, and by far the most easily accessible of all of Seal’s work. The run of songs from “Get It Together” to “Love’s Divine” to “Waiting For You” to “My Vision” is phenomenal, and the album rarely lets up. Seal  and Seal  both hit number 1 in the UK, but neither made it into the top 10 in the U.S., where Seal IV reached #3. I even had a few of these songs as ringtones on my phone, back when that was a thing. I can’t speak about this album highly enough, except to say it is highly underrated.
Seal’s 2007 album System went back to his dance roots in a big way. Every song has a strong beat, and a couple made the U.S. dance charts. There are even a handful of remixes at the end of the album to keep the party going. “If It’s In My Mind, It’s On My Face” and “Loaded” aren’t the most popular songs on the album—those would be “Amazing” and “The Right Life,” which both saw decent radio play—but they’re solid indicators of how much the album bumps, which makes it surprising that it’s one of his lowest-selling albums.
Seal 6: Commitment, released in 2010, is Seal’s most mature album. It’s an album I don’t think about a lot but always enjoy very much. Seal aged his music very well, and “Weight of My Mistakes” is an excellent example of that. There’s a lot of energy, per usual, but it’s focused on themes more relevant to a man in his late 40s with a wife and small children. It always bothers me when artists attempt to keep their art reflective of a previous life situation, one that doesn’t really apply anymore. Seal can never be accused of that. He’s always growing and evolving, and his listeners have grown alongside him. No songs from 2015’s 7 made it on here, but ask me again in a few years and I’m sure many of them will have matured into favorites.
What are you still doing here? Go listen to Seal!