Star producer Trevor Horn's ornate arrangements and sonic sweets have always been a big part of Seal's musical identity. On the "Acoustic" disc of this two-CD greatest-hits package, singer and producer deliver re-sung Seal hits and favorite album tracks with tune-flattering folky accompaniment. Any move that accentuates the English pop-soul singer's mawkish lyrics sounds like a bad idea, but Horn's new, simpler settings reinvigorate the dramatic crooner. Hammering out the acid-house synth hook of "Killer" on a marimba works way better than it should, and the hand claps of "Get It Together" reframe the lyrics in a perfect Sixties-style gospel groove. Seal's dippy poetry now suits the acoustic guitars' hippie vibe, and even overplayed corn such as "Kiss From a Rose" sounds groovy again.
(Posted: Feb 10, 2005)