A series of essays wherein I explore the numerous musical identities of my favorite musician: from child prodigy to teen idol to guitar hero to singer/songwriter to award-winning in-demand film composer.
Featuring news/updates and commentary/analysis of Trevor's career and associated projects.
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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Man of a Thousand Credits: kinda "Wild"

One of a continuing series in regards to the myriad variety of Trevor’s discography.

Out of the many guest appearances Trevor has made on record for other artists over the years, one which he has noted on his own official discography is for Seal's 1991 debut album, produced by Trevor Horn.  Mark Mancina also played keyboards on the release - but none of the musicians listed in the album's credits are specifically noted regarding which track(s) they played on, although according to guitarist Chrissy Shefts, she was the one who played all the guitar parts on "Crazy" as well as adding parts to other songs.

Seal was a definite hit for the British-born singer and his producer, reaching number one in the UK and number 24 in the US, as well as winning the award for Best British Album at the 1992 Brit Awards.

From my perspective, I would definitely cite it as one of Mr. Horn's best production efforts; it was one of the seminal albums of '90s-era genre blending - much as Sade did in the '80s with such albums as Diamond Life and Promise - a lush engaging mix of R&B, soul, pop and contemporary jazz styles.  I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't experienced Seal's specific talents or may only know of his song "Kiss From A Rose" (also produced by Mr. Horn).

As far as Trevor's involvement, I've given it much consideration - just as I have with his uncredited work on Welcome to the Pleasuredome (which is the subject of a previous entry) - and here's my conclusion: the only track which sounds as if he was selected for a particular type of texture he could definitely contribute (in Mr. Horn's estimation) is "Wild."

But what I consider the specific evidence for that theory isn't even on the official version of the album!

As documented on the Seal fansite Future Love Paradise, there are two versions of the debut album: the "normal" version which appears to have had the widest distribution, and what is known as the "premix" version.  The site owner notes in their discography entry -
According to Seal, there are two versions because he and Trevor Horn had very little time to finish the first version (due to the demands of single releases), and later decided there were better versions of the three tracks (or as Seal puts it: "a bad habit that Trevor and myself share, THE INABILITY TO LET GO!!").
So this would indicate why the first version is referred as the "premix" version.  The "normal" version was released to replace it and thus became the official version of the album.

Regarding "Wild" - here is the commentary from the fansite:
The version of "Wild" is an entirely different mix. The whole of the musical arrangement is different to that of the "normal" album.
It starts with the same guitar thrash, but instead of continuing with a basic drum beat and tame guitar, you are treated to a fantastic flick-bass line. Then the drums kick in. This is the same rhythm as the "normal" mix. With the drums comes the thrashing chords of a guitar.
With more bass and guitar, this mix seems to flow from the initial thrash and into the song more fluently. Finally, the track ends with another thrash which echoes to silence. In my opinion, it is much funkier :)
The "premix" version of "Wild."

If you compare the two versions, the rock-style guitar is far more prominent in the original "premix" version. "Wild" is the only song on the album which has a specifically crunchy type of guitar part, and it stands to reason Mr. Horn would ask Trevor to contribute that kind of vibe.  Listening to the original "premix" version makes it a more obvious choice, in my opinion.  However, the playing on the "normal" version also seems entirely the kind of articulation we know Trevor is capable of, even if it's less noticeable.  Granted, Trevor could have played any guitar part on the album (except the ones on "Crazy," apparently) because as a seasoned veteran of recording sessions he can perform in any number of styles and idioms with absolute ease.  But my prevailing theory is if Trevor played on only one song, it was likely "Wild."

Those of you who have heard the album, or if you have specific information as to Trevor's particular credit, please feel free to hit me up on email and share what you think and/or know.  I'm more than happy to admit I'm wrong if we fans can finally know for certain.