A lot of people can name you their favorite songs, but few can pinpoint the exact one that they hate the most. I have the luxury of knowing exactly what song I absolutely cannot stand: Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.” I don’t know exactly what happened, but, sometime in my childhood, a traumatic event occurred while that song was playing, and, from that point on, I have associated it with the eternal abyss, unknowable shadows and those creepy birds in Stellaluna. It’s absolutely Pavlovian, but I’m not lying to you when I say that, to this day, I have never been able to stomach a full playing of that song.
That being said, I can understand the track’s appeal. Its gothic tinge, Seal’s vocal performance. I can imagine people like “Kiss From a Rose” for the same reason I like Florence + The Machine’s “Only If for a Night”. It’s sensual goth pop for the masses. “Only If for a Night” is different, though, because it has that extra kick. (Also, it’s not the demon spawn of Satan) The utterance of the song’s title after the chorus is a swift, unexpected addendum to an already massive song. Then Florence Welch’s voice cries to the heavens and it’s not long before you’ve got a delicious slice of 90’s adult contemporary better than every Hootie and the Blowfish song combined. Ceremonials had a lot of great moments, but it never got better than its first track. I may never be able to listen to “Kiss From A Rose” without wanting to gauge my eardrums out with a melon baller, but I’d say this is a more than worthy alternative.