Review Summary: A new school twist on an old school sound. As the song goes, “play that funky music white boy…”
Normally I’m hesitant in listening to albums from an unknown (to me) artist mainly because one or two songs will pop out, then listening to the whole album, I just find it isn’t on par with said songs. Now I’ve never heard anything about or by Sam Sparro
, but what peaked my interest in him was the album art. I know they say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ (or in this case an album by its album art) but in this circumstance, the outcome is a positive one.
With an eclectic mixture of genres (Funk, Dance, 80’s Synth, and Pop all littered about) Sparro and his production team succeed in comprising a strong debut album. Opening track Too Many Questions
starts with a funky keyboard which leads to Sparro’s old school vocals. Lyrically simplistic yet catchy, Sparro effortlessly puts a new school feel on an old school sound. This is also applied to the current single, Black and Gold
which has a chorus that could easily get stuck in your head for days. 21st Century Life
is a standout track that showcases the best of Sparro's ability to mix funk, dance and a little jazz without it sounding forced and out of place.
is a more synth / dance inspired track in which Sparro sings, “It’s a sick, sick world / I’ll be your medicine…” This track and Waiting for Time
are slower in pace but they don’t take away from the overall sound or enjoyment. Waiting for Time
conveys a jazz-pop feel which is refreshing. Lyrically while it’s nothing profound, it showcases Sparro's emotion in his words. Recycle It!
sounds it should be accompanied with cartoons and made into a PSA, but it’s a nice interlude-like song nonetheless.
and Hot Mess
both showcase Sparro's diverse vocal ability with the former sounding more like a Prince
inspired track (if Prince sung about Marijuana in lieu of sex) and the latter sounding like Curtis Mayfield’s Kung Fu
sounds like it was plucked out of the 80’s and dressed up with today’s dance music. Lyrically it's a new spin on some old age advice. Another standout track is Cut Me Loose
which would have been a perfect radio track on Grand Theft Auto’s Vice City
had this album come out in 2002. Cut Me Loose
feels somewhat reminiscent of Roger and Zapp's More Bounce to the Ounce
as it is a great dance track filled with the synth of the 70's and it makes you forget about the stresses of everyday life.
, in which Sparro sings about a stripper from an emotionally and possibly physically abusive home, musically is a darker tinged pop / dance sound. It feels a little out of place considering the issue, but doesn’t hamper the album any less. Sparro then returns to form in the spunky second last track, Clingwrap
; the soundtrack to any clingy relationship. Finally, Can’t Stop This!
brings a superb album to a close with all the genres encompassed into a song that leaves you wanting more.
Even if you’re not a fan of this type of music, there’s something about this album just grabs you and doesn’t let go. Whether it be the vocals, music or just sheer funkiness of it, Sam Sparros’ debut is a must have for this summer.