Seal’s Awaited Album “Standards” Presents Classics of Swing


Catherine Hurwitz

With the end of the year approaching, many artists, such as Taylor Swift and Eminem, are releasing new albums and singles. Fans have been waiting for new music to listen to during the colder days of the soon-to-be winter. However, some artists are releasing new albums, but with old music.

Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel, otherwise known as his stage name Seal, released his new album “Standards” on Nov. 10 with Decca Records. His style is to take the pieces from the American songbook, including those of classic musicians like George Gershwin, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.

Seal conveys an aura of the past with his authenticity and mellowness. His tone of voice is very rare in today’s world of music, as many songs rely on autotune and electronics. While other musicians try to move into the future, Seal sings as if he were sitting alongside Sinatra and the singers of the past.

It has been a little more than a year since a relatively similar album has been released. Michael Bublé’s album “Nobody but Me” featured the classics “The Very Thought Of You” and “On An Evening in Roma,” and other new, pop songs. Other artists that identify with similar styles of music are Harry Connick Jr. and Sal Valentinetti.

“Standards” consists of swing music— “Luck Be A Lady,” “I Put A Spell On You,” “Smile,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and more. Honoring the upcoming holiday season, the album’s deluxe version included the winter-time favorites “Christmas Song” and “Let It Snow.”

One of his covers, “My Funny Valentine” represents his voice’s true ability to groove into the ambiance of jazz. “My Funny Valentine” was originally introduced as a show tune for the 1937 musical “Babe in Arms.” From then on, this song has been deemed a jazz standard, as it has been covered by artists such as Fitzgerald and Sinatra. Seal’s version is just as dulcet, with the laid-back beat and vibrato during long, heart-warming notes .

Seal, a well-known, soulful British crooner, has won three Brit Awards and four Grammy Awards. Some of his well known songs include “Killer” and “Crazy.” “Kiss From A Rose” is his song that was featured in the soundtrack to the 1995 film “Batman Forever.” He also is a judge on The Voice Australia.

“Standards” is able to capture Seal’s diversity as an artist. He is known for modern music, as he continues to release new, upbeat music with soul. However, his full range of abilities is emphasized with going back to the classics in “Standards.”

During a time with release after release of new music, Seal captures the same excitement by releasing a new version of old music. Being one of the few popular singers of the American songbook, Seal manages to incorporate his soul into reminding everyone of the songs that stand the test of time.