When listening to Seal, one word comes to mind: soul. Charting multiple songs in genres, including dance music and adult alternative, he masterfully blends R&B with the gentle nature of an orchestra, creating a unique sound that’s undeniably Seal. With lyrics rooted in self-discovery mixed with his intoxicating voice, Seal has several songs that compel thought from the listener, making him a staple artist in music. Below, we explore 10 of the best songs by Seal.
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1.) “Love’s Divine”
“Love’s Divine” is more like a soliloquy put to music than it is a song. Seal doesn’t rush through, rather taking his time and letting each word have its moment. He continues to delve deeply inward, professing that through the rain he’s found a sanctuary that allowed his spirit to reach new heights. But the most striking line is at the end of the chorus when he shares that love is all he needs to know his name and understand who he truly is. Alongside its touching lyrics, the upbeat melody of “Love’s Divine” landed him at the top of Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs.
Through the rainstorm came sanctuary
And I felt my spirit fly
I had found all of my reality
I realize what it takes
‘Cause I need love, love’s divine
Please forgive me, now I see that I’ve been blind
Give me love, love is what I need to help me know my name
2.) “Stand by Me”
Seal adds even more soul to this classic by Ben E. King. Blending R&B flavor with a pop-leaning orchestra with vibrant trumpets and violins, Seal flexes the smoky aspects of his voice that make it so alluring. Seal captures the heart of the song, making for a standout in his illustrious catalog.
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No, I won’t be afraid
No, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand
Stand by me
3.) “Don’t Cry”
“Don’t Cry” is a six-minute lament that’s determined to bring a tear to your eye with lyrics embedded in sorrow and loneliness. Seal sets the scene by having a phone conversation with someone from his past, reflecting on memories from long ago in an attempt to soothe her tears. When you feel like me I want you to know/Don’t cry/Not alone/Don’t cry tonight, my baby/Don’t cry you’ll always be loved, he sings softly and tenderly, the gentle strings of violin adding to the sentiment of one of his best numbers.
What’s become of them? (They’ve all gone for sure)
When you feel like me I want you to know
Don’t cry tonight, my baby
Don’t cry you’ll always be loved
Don’t cry tonight my baby
4.) “Prayer For the Dying”
Injecting beauty into death, Seal sings from the perspective of someone passing on to the other side. But he’s making the venture with valuable lessons learned in this lifetime. Along the way, he drops little gems of wisdom like time is the space between me and you before leaving us with the eternal message, life carries on/It goes on. The thoughtful song reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top 15 hit in his native country, hitting No. 14 on the UK Singles chart.
Crossing that bridge with lessons I’ve learned
Playing with fire and not getting burned
I may not know what you’re going through
But time is the space between me and you
Life carries on, ooh
It goes on
Just say die and that would be pessimistic
In your mind, we can walk across the water
Please don’t cry it’s just a prayer for the dying
I just don’t know what’s got into me
5.) “Human Beings”
Seal explores the depths of being a human in this beautiful number. The orchestral melody is matched by Seal’s soothing voice as he professes that love is the answer to what will give us peace of heart, adding that lack of self-esteem is the death of love. Before the song’s end, Seal leaves us with the simple message that death is inevitable, his message reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. His voice sounding as beautiful as ever, Seal sings into your soul with “Human Beings.”
If you bleed
They will say that it’s destined
They’ll be punchin’ tickets
For the minute if you fall out of line
We’re mere human beings we die
6.) “Fly Like an Eagle”
Seal does the Steve Miller Band justice with his interpretation of one of their biggest hits. Smooth and sweet, his voice is dreamy while adding an R&B flavor and still maintaining the integrity of the original. There’s a mystifying vibe to Seal’s version, which appeared on the soundtrack of the cult classic film Space Jam, and soared into the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart, making it a memorable cover.
I want to fly like an eagle, to the sea
Fly like an eagle
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly (oh, yeah)
Fly right into the future
Here, the singer leans into chaos a bit, seeing the value in letting loose as waves of R&B and an electronic drum solo meet one’s ears. Inspired by world events, Seal wrote the song after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Tiananmen Square Massacre when troops unleashed fire on people protesting following the death of former General Secretary of the Chinese Community Party Hu Yaobang. Seal reflects his perspective in the lyrics with images of people coming face to face through a fractured wall and friends becoming enemies in the name of war. Marking his first top 10 single in the U.S., “Crazy” strikes a meaningful chord.
But we’re never gonna survive, unless
We get a little crazy
No we’re never gonna survive, unless
We are a little crazy
8.) “Kiss From a Rose”
Seal’s most well-known song is also one of his best. As the sole songwriter, this piano-driven ballad uses romantic lyrics that compare the love of his life to a light that illuminates the darkness and a rose in bloom making the light even stronger. He also maintains a healthy level of awareness as he poses You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain, baby/To me, you’re like a growing addiction that I can’t deny/Won’t you tell me, is that healthy, baby? The song’s dynamic nature, brought to life by Seal’s undeniable voice, took this song to new heights, becoming his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Seal also cleaned up at the 1996 Grammy Awards, winning Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the grey
Ooh, the more I get of you, stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the grey
9.) “If It’s in My Mind, It’s on My Face”
This track stays in tune with Seal’s uplifting and introspective nature. This time, he calls on an electronic, dance-ready beat to help him reassure someone that if they’re struggling to find their place in the world, their life means something to me, encouraging them to not go under if they feel like breaking down. He echoes this message as his voice soars singing we live in the world/We’re free in this world. Serving as the opening track of his 2007 album, System, “If It’s in My Mind” is definitely worth a listen.
If I could fly, I’d spread my wings
In time to free you from these foolish things
And we won’t be back for sure
If it’s in my mind, it’s on my face
Wish I could take you to a better place
And we just might miss your call
10.) “Newborn Friend”
Don’t let the dance club-ready beat with its stroke of psychedelic flair fool you—Seal still speaks to the process of inner reflection on this bop. While searching for the root of his problems deep in his soul, Seal is turning toward the light after feeling reborn, now willing to dance with strangers and searching for happiness. Don’t be surprised if you feel pulled toward the dance floor when this song comes on.
If I chant for happiness,
Maybe that will make me feel better?
I can’t change my ideals, I can’t lose my desire
Ohh, if I chant for happiness maybe that will make me feel better?
I’d be your newborn friend for the world
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