On Twitter, Seal announced it as his seventh studio album. Though that could be open for discussion, "7' is his first original album in years. His last studio album, "Commitment", was released in 2010 and inspired by his wife Heidi Klum. Since, the marriage has fallen apart and, the couple got divorced in 2012.
Seal's used the writing of this album as therapy to work through the hurt and heartbreak, which comes with the end of a relationship. So, while one could say the album "7" is one of love, someone else could say it's all about heartbreak.
He teamed up with Trevor Horn, with whom he also wrote his biggest hit "A Kiss From Rose". He, too, used the album to deal with the emotions from the loss of his wife. Seal and Trevor go further back though, Trevor Horn also produced his first solo hit "Crazy" and the rest of his debut album, which was released after his breakthrough with DJ Adamski's "Killer". In a recent interview, Trevor credited Seal's soul voice as one of the realest voices he's ever heard.
Soul is what Seal is known for, though, he's also experimented with influences from electronic music. Lyrically, this new album is considered to be the most honest album that he's made and the press' anticipation of this album has been bigger than his previous work has received the last few years. Mind you, he’s mainly placed collections of classic soul songs and his hits on his last albums.
But still, maybe Seal raised a good point when he said it was "good to be in the press for something other than his marriage". Maybe the fairytale strong marriage that he seemed to have and committed focus on family life did distract the press. Maybe it even distracted him. Regardless, he seems to come back now and the healing power of this album is probably the first step.
The album contains a few heartbreaking ballads, from which ‘”Daylight Savings” probably sounds the most fragile and “Half A Heart”, though predictable, probably the most commercially appealing. His electronic influences are still there throughout many of the up-tempo songs, but get mixed with a bit of jazzy rock influences in “Redzone Killer” and “Monascow“. “Padded Cell” is the most experimental, almost a kind of storytelling type of song.
In the mix of today’s style of songwriting and recording, it’s almost refreshing to hear vocals so purely as on this album. There’s a clear lead, that isn’t doubled or backed up by stacks of vocals. The album actually delivers a good balance between music and vocals, allowing each to shine through.
If I’d have to rate it out 0-5 stars, I’d give it a 5 and regret that I can’t stretch it to a lucky 7.