Sequence stratigraphy arose as a paradigm in stratigraphy after the integration of the descriptive seismic method, introduced by Exxon researchers in the 1970s, with genetic concepts linking seismic attributes to sedimentary dynamics. Since then, the sequence stratigraphy model underwent significant modification owing to the increasing scenarios of application, each with its own practical requirements. This led to the fragmentation of the original model into a plethora of sub-methods and the flourishing of redundant notions and terminology. Reviewers striving to preserve the unity and fitness of sequence stratigraphy systematically weakened the central assumption by which it stood as a novelty and a paradigm: the relevance of relative sea-level cycles in shaping strata ‘sequentially’. In contrast to this attitude, the value of a model explicitly relying on the upholding control of sea-level is herein reconsidered, based on the marine record of Quaternary, climate-driven, sea-level cycles. Traditionally conceived as exceptionally short-lived and extraordinary events in the history of the Earth, these cycles are documented worldwide on modern continental margins, providing convincing evidence of how sea-level fluctuations actually shape sequences.