Apparently getting kissed by a rose transports you to Dullsville. After the Batman Forever soundtrack cut became his biggest hit, Seal eschewed the house sound of his early singles “Crazy” and “Killer” in favor of more modest, adult contemporary fare. For System, only his fifth album in 16 years, Seal gave long-time collaborator Trevor Horn the boot and commissioned DJ/producer Stuart Price to recapture that early-‘90s dance vibe; on paper, they seem like a great pair, but this new direction doesn’t seem to have taken Mr. Heidi Klum much farther than the very next town. The hooks are harder to catch than Avian Bird Flu and Price regurgitates the same tricks and formulas he already employed ad nauseam on Madge’s Confessions on a Dance Floor two years ago—only System doesn’t have as dynamic a personality driving it. The two exceptions are “Wedding Day,” a duet with Klum that benefits from switching up the album’s tempo and a not-horrible performance by the model-turned-reality-TV-hostess (I can already imagine a record exec somewhere plotting a campy clubland hit based on Klum’s Project Runway tagline “In or Out”) and the album’s lead single, “Amazing.” The Thin White Duke Edit of that track is rightfully given priority in the album sequence; Price’s remix work has always been more impressive than his original productions and System is no exception.
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