Human Beings
by Seal

Album: Human Being (1998)
Charted: 50


  • This song is a look at death and mortality - we're mere human beings, thus we are destined to die. Seal came up with the idea in light of the murders of Tupac Shakur (killed in 1996 at 25) and Notorious B.I.G. (killed in 1997 at 24). He told MTV: "It's basically saying that we are not invincible. That we are human beings and that we are born into this life, we have a vocation to fill, and then we die, and that vocation is not pretending we are gangsters."

    He added: "It is essentially a song of love. It was also, I guess, inspired by this constant fear of death that we seem to live in."
  • This was the title track to Seal's third album, his first since Seal four years earlier. That album produced a #1 hit with "Kiss From A Rose," but "Human Beings" stalled at #50 in his native UK and didn't chart at all in America despite excellent reviews for the album. The next two singles didn't chart either, and with scant airplay, Seal's tour was cut short. He fared better with his next album, Seal IV, in 2003.
  • Trevor Horn, known for his work with The Buggles and Yes, produced Seal's first two albums and was set to work on Human Being when he had a row with Seal in 1997 and relinquished the role. Stewart Levine got the gig, but that didn't pan out and Horn ended up producing it after reconciling with Seal.
  • The video was directed by Francis Lawrence. It shows Seal performing the song in front of a big concrete wall, interspersed with shots of other humans.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

British Invasion

British InvasionFact or Fiction

Go beyond The Beatles to see what you know about the British Invasion.

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' Albums

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' AlbumsSong Writing

With the rise of Kindie rock, more musicians are embracing their inner child with tunes for tots - here, we look at pop stars who recorded kids' albums.

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")

Director Nick Morris ("The Final Countdown")Song Writing

Nick made some of the biggest videos on MTV, including "The Final Countdown," "Heaven" and "Don't Know What You Got (Till It's Gone)."

Leslie West of Mountain

Leslie West of MountainSongwriter Interviews

From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.