Friday, November 7, 2014

Song of the Day: Seal - Kiss From a Rose (1994)

Few pop songs have ever united people that mostly hated pop music like Seal's massive hit "Kiss From a Rose" united my friends and I in 1995. It's difficult to say why this is. It could be that the song is just that good, which I honestly do believe. It also could be that once you put Batman in a music video, you've won the 13-year old demo regardless of what the song sounds like. 

Seal's second album (which, like the first, was simply titled Seal) came out in 1994 and included this song, but "Kiss From a Rose" didn't really take off until the summer of '95, when it was featured on the Batman Forever soundtrack, and a tie-in music video turned it into a massive hit. And we all loved it, even though it bore absolutely no resemblance or connection to anything else we loved at the time, other than comic books. 

It's especially ironic that a pop song's connection to Batman Forever might have been what provoked my friends and I to like it in 1995, because in hindsight, Batman Forever is a comically (no pun intended) awful movie, while "Kiss From a Rose" remains the outstanding pop song that it's always been. It uses the Freddie Mercury/"Bohemian Rhapsody" trick of layering many Seal vocals over one another to create a sound of epic harmony that's still just one person. It's also one of those rare songs where every line sort of sounds like it must be the chorus, so the song has this effect of feeling like it's all existing at a peak moment that just continues to linger. And the video was great. Even though my friends and I knew nothing about love in 1995, we all probably romanticized the idea that it must somehow involve dark rooftops, spotlights, bald black singers, Nicole Kidman, and leather Batman suits with fetishized nipples. To this day, I remain disappointed that my love life has never quite involved any of those things. 

Seal is an interesting figure, because it seems the two things people most know him for--his appearance and his marriage to Heidi Klum--have absolutely nothing to do with his music. As a latter day pop/soul crooner, he's quite good, and many of his best songs, like "Crazy" and "Amazing," remain some of the better songs of their genre and era. 

Check out the Song of the Day Archive!!

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