As outlined in A Love Deluxe, the past year or so has seen me become just a little bit addicted to creating “fantasy” deluxe editions. You take an album, and use whatever extra material is available (B-sides, Single Edits, 12″ Remixes, Demos, Out-takes, non-album 45s) to piece together a multi-disc celebration of it.
Q: How on earth do you make a six-disc set, comprising 64 tracks, from just the songs on Seal’s first album (and its singles)?
A: Well it goes something like this…
ZTT. It’s all their fault. Half a decade on from their first flush of multi-format, endlessly-remixed efforts with Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Propaganda (both of whom may well turn up later in this series), Zang Tuum Tumb – now under the Warner Brothers umbrella – were in the process of adjusting to a new decade and branching out beyond the type of artists they’d been signing in the 1980s.
Sealhenry Samuel had seemingly come from nowhere to voice the defining pop/dance hit of 1990, Killer, with electronic artist and remixer Adamski. His bruised, soulful vocals brought the perfect element of humanity and yearning to a song about the struggles of alienation (“it’s the loneliness that’s the killer”, goes the spoken intro). Seal, as he was professionally known, then teamed up with producer Trevor Horn and joined the ZTT fold.
Plenty of memorable guest singers on seminal pop/dance tracks in the 90s tried to “go solo”, but it’s not a given that they will succeed or even if they do, whether they can sustain that momentum (or actually want to). Just ask Shara Nelson.
Seal, however, was not merely a dance-oriented artist. His music could hit a groove as well as anyone around, but the probable reason for his success was his ability to straddle virtually any genre or create any mood with equal effectiveness. A little bit of Lenny Kravitz, a little bit of Terence Trent D’Arby perhaps, but also classic 70s rock (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix). Visually, the ZTT/WEA marketing team were smart to recognise his striking style; a benevolent, insightful force of nature, full of mystical power and radiating good vibes. With plenty of black leather outfits.
Come the summer of 1991, Seal’s debut LP had arrived and duly entered at #1 in the UK. Set up by the smash single Crazy, and then trailed by Future Love Paradise‘s stately groove, it was a perfectly executed campaign. Even the sleeve was absolutely spot-on, a simple yet brilliant concept of placing our man as the A in his name. Bold black text on a white background. In just one image, it captures the essence of the artist and the album within.
Ah, but which version of the album? The “premix” or the “final mix”? Check your CD (if you still have one, and haven’t abandoned physical media yet) – there are two simple ways of finding out which version you have. The trainspotter’s method is to look at the tiny matrix code numbers on the inner ring of the disc’s centre…if the number ends in 1, you have the premix, if it’s a 2, then it’s the later (and more common) variant. You can also pop the disc into a player, or iTunes, or any computer media library software, and the running times of particular tracks will also reveal the answer.
Biggest clue will be that Crazy (track 3) is over a minute longer in the second incarnation, while several other tracks are either remixed or re-recorded. (Check discogs.com for details, no purchase necessary).
Straight away, we have a reason to think about a fantasy deluxe edition of Seal, that will have both these versions. I took that thought….and ran with it.
Eventually, some 64 tracks later….including 13 mixes of Crazy, 10 mixes of Killer, 8 of The Beginning and 6 of Future Love Paradise….I stopped running. We had reached completism’s end. A glorious, six-disc Super Deluxe Paradise (see what we did there?) edition.
This is how the discs were broken down:
CD1 is the premix. CD2 the final mix. Then, CD3 works through the singles, cheekily including the Adamski original of Killer even though it’s not licensed to ZTT (the joy of fantasy sets being immune to the real world). 7″ mixes of Crazy, Future Love Paradise, The Beginning and Seal’s “I’m taking ownership back of my song” re-run through Killer, entitled Killer On The Loose. The final single from the album, Violet, also came as an acoustic EP, so that’s featured in full.
After that, it’s the turn of the B-sides, all four of them, before closing with The Closing Of The Year, taken from the 1992 soundtrack of Toys, a Robin Williams film that contained a soundtrack CD devoted to ZTT music and artists. As with several songs on the main Seal album, Wendy & Lisa come along for the ride. Trevor Horn remained in the producer’s chair.
CDs 4, 5 and 6 are devoted to remixes. Lots of them. If you want the Round The Underground Dub Mix of The Beginning, this is your kind of deluxe. Overkill fans will appreciate the use of The Closing Of The Year to conclude four discs in a row, and do so in a different version each time.
CD4 THE REMIXES [PT. 1]
01 KILLER REMIX 6.32 ADAMSKI featuring SEAL
02 CRAZY EXTENDED VERSION 5.08
03 FUTURE LOVE PARADISE NELLEE HOOPER MIX 5.00
04 THE BEGINNING UK REMIX 5.00
05 KILLER…ON THE LOOSE WILLIAM ORBIT MIX 6.44
06 CRAZY WILLIAM ORBIT MIX 5.26
07 THE BEGINNING GIRO E GIRO MIX 7.06
08 KILLER…ON THE LOOSE EXTENDED MIX 9.24
09 CRAZY URBAN RADIO MIX 4.45
10 THE BEGINNING ROUNDABOUT MIX 9.09
11 THE CLOSING OF THE YEAR SMOOTH VARIATION
[FROM THE “TOYS” SOUNDTRACK] 2.31
WENDY AND LISA featuring SEAL
CD5 THE REMIXES [PT. 2]
01 CRAZY ACOUSTIC VERSION 6.57
02 FUTURE LOVE PARADISE BEATS MIX 6.08
03 THE BEGINNING REMIX 4.10
04 KILLER 3D MIX 4.27
05 CRAZY CHICK ON MY TIP MIX 3.40
06 FUTURE LOVE PARADISE ACAPELLA MIX 6.00
07 THE BEGINNING ROUND THE UNDERGROUND DUB 5.48
08 KILLER WILLIAM ORBIT DUB MIX 5.55
09 CRAZY URBAN DUB MIX 4.40
10 THE CLOSING OF THE YEAR INSTRUMENTAL
[FROM THE “TOYS” SOUNDTRACK] 5.06
WENDY AND LISA featuring SEAL
CD6 THE REMIXES [PT. 3]
01 CRAZY DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO L.A. MIX 3.50
02 THE BEGINNING ROUND THE UNDERGROUND MIX 7.33
03 KILLER LIVE 4.52
04 CRAZY ACAPELLA MIX 3.27
05 DEEP WATER ACOUSTIC VERSION 3.43
06 FUTURE LOVE PARADISE REPRISE 2.27
07 KRAZY 6.27
08 CRAZY URBAN INSTRUMENTAL MIX 4.43
09 THE CLOSING OF THE YEAR LONG VERSION
[FROM THE “TOYS” SOUNDTRACK] 5.57
WENDY AND LISA featuring SEAL
And that, dear readers, is how a 9-track debut album ended up as a six-disc fantasy deluxe. Repetition was the biggest threat to finalising the running order, and which mix to put where on which disc, not to mention my sanity.
But hey…we’re never going to survive unless we get a little Crazy.