Seal – Kiss from a Rose

First Hit #1: August 26, 1995

Batman Forever wasn’t actually a good movie. Oh, if you were 10 in 1995 it was great, the over the top antics of Jim Carrey were something you looked forward to all summer, and it was not only bright and flashy, but had a certain neon tinge that somehow became fashionable in the decade. But, watching it today, it’s a bit too over the top, a bit too silly, and goes completely off the rails in the final act. Also, the big evil device looks like a blender filled with packing peanuts.

There is one good thing about the film though, and it’s Kiss from a Rose. The song is great for two reasons, the first being Seal’s performance. It is a passionate love song with a certain hint of tragedy to it. There’s a certain pain there, a distance between the characters of the song that can’t quite be shaken from one’s impression. The imagery that Seal evokes recall death, distance and despair, it’s a love song with a streak of pain throbbing through it. Reason two, and this one is unintentional, it is the best karaoke song on the planet. I’ve mentioned a song being great to belt out while completely drunk before, it’s a vital part of pop music and something every year needs. In this case, shouting the “BAAAAAAAABYYYYYYYY” is the most enjoyable thing you can possibly do while inebriated. The rest of the song allows you to reach parts of your vocal range that probably should never be accessed, and for such a dark song it becomes such a fun song.

Depending on the context, it’s either a great love song with a streak of sadness, or the most fun you’ll ever have singing in a bar. No wonder it reached the top.

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One Response to Seal – Kiss from a Rose

  1. RBerman says:

    The movie was indeed terrible, but what a triumph this song was for the British neo-soul singer with a smooth-yet-smoky vocal tone. The whole album (annoyingly, one of several he released simply titled “Seal”) was great too, with production by Trevor Horn (ex-Buggles, ex-Yes) and a late-album cameo by none other than Joni Mitchell. My favorite song from it is actually, “Prayer for the Dying,” which only reached #21 on the U.S. chart. That song is simply about suffering and death, whereas “Kiss from a Rose” mixes eros and thanatos in an age-old dance.

    Singer-songwriter Seal offers one strikingly romantic metaphor, (“You became the light on the dark side of me”) as well as a couple of questionable substance abuse metaphors. The second verse repeats after a harmonically stacked but lyrically slight bridge. The chord progression features an unusual mode, built as it is on a repeated VIb-VIIb-I motif, dipping briefly at the end of each verse into the relative minor key. I think I’ll have to listen to Seal all day today, which is no great sacrifice.

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