“The Big Love Has Died” is a BIG ballad. Sweeping strings. Hopeless lyrics. A chorus that crescendos to a high, before an unexpected drop.
If anyone could sing this song, it’s Seal. His partnership with producer Trevor Horn gave pop some of its best ballads of the 90s. In fact, I’m not sure anyone except Seal could pull off an epic ballad like this – especially given his very public break with model Heidi Klum. Seal was never one for providing a lot of detail in his music (he doesn’t even put song lyrics in his liner notes1). Still, he did admit to some influence from his personal life on “Big Love…”:
You try to be adult about [a breakup], be mature and objective and positive about it, but unfortunately that’s not the reality at the time. When that wound is still fresh your immediate reaction is to be damning and final, to want closure, to forget, to move on. To live in denial. That is the immediate emotional survival mechanism. I wanted that song to capture that in a way that people could relate to it.
-Seal, as interviewed in the Daily Telegraph
Trevor Horn gave a more succinct answer: “Over the past few years, Seal has been through the tumble dryer of love. He gets sad on the record. You can hear him being sad, but you can’t hear him being bitter.”
I love the honesty that Seal sings with in this song. Whether it’s about his divorce or a break-up with his high-school sweetheart, it’s a truthful, yet tasteful, take on the sadness and hopelessness that comes from a failed relationship.