84. Seal, Seal (ZTT/Sire 1994)

Say what you want about this album’s dinner-party ubiquity, it’s so-called “safe” sound and “Kiss From A Rose”, a ballad that only became a hit once it was pushed as part of the Batman Forever soundtrack (wretched movie, the best songs don’t even appear onscreen); Seal is most-deserving of his pop-star success, and on this second album, everything flows gracefully and assuredly. Rare guest star Joni Mitchell effortlessly blends in like a soul sister with all the lush, beatific soundscapes and even seems a little less fussy than she did on her own records from this period. Still, no one can overshadow the man that gives this record its title, especially when he exultantly explodes on the final chorus of “Newborn Friend”.