(2012) Return To Paradise

Sam Sparro

... read moreVocalist Sam Sparro has always evinced a love of '70s and '80s disco, funk, and soul in his decidedly electronic-based dance music. His 2008 debut showcased plenty of Stevie Wonder-meets-Prince-sounding cuts, including the single, "Black and Gold," which featured Sparro's deep, resonant baritone...

46′:19″ 11 Songs

1
Paradise People
Sam Sparro
4:01
2
Happiness
Sam Sparro
3:06
3
Let The Love In
Sam Sparro
3:45
4
Yellow Orange Rays
Sam Sparro
3:25
5
Hearts Like Us
Sam Sparro
4:09
6
I Wish I Never Met You
Sam Sparro
3:31
7
Shades Of Grey
Sam Sparro
4:09
8
We Could Fly
Sam Sparro
6:20
9
Closer
Sam Sparro
4:11
10
The Shallow End
Sam Sparro
5:17
11
Return To Paradise
Sam Sparro
4:25
Released 01 January 2012, ℗ 2012 Sparro

Review

Vocalist Sam Sparro has always evinced a love of '70s and '80s disco, funk, and soul in his decidedly electronic-based dance music. His 2008 debut showcased plenty of Stevie Wonder-meets-Prince-sounding cuts, including the single, "Black and Gold," which featured Sparro's deep, resonant baritone croon over pulsing synths like some lost Studio 54-era anthem. Sparro takes this love of classic dance club music even further on his superb 2013 sophomore album, Return to Paradise. While retaining his knack for immediately catchy pop hooks, Sparro has crafted a more organic, less electronic-minded (though there is still some of that here, too) album full of real drums, keyboards, organs, guitars, horns, and strings. Essentially, this is groove-oriented R&B, immaculately produced with a disco and house music purist's ear for period details. Tracks like the steamy opener "Paradise People," and the absolutely jubilant, '90s house music-sounding "Happiness" are infectious club moments that grab your ears as much as they do your feet. Having a great voice and a big personality never hurts when it comes to effusive dance music, and in this way, Sparro also succeeds. With a subtle gospel inflection and just enough vocal melisma when it's required, Sparro imbues each of these songs with an intensity, passion, and palpable love that shines through even when he's singing about heartbreak and negativity, as on the ballad "I Wish I Never Met You." There is also a bit of camp, of course, in the presentation of some songs, with Sparro even casting himself as a future space diva awaiting his return to help save the earth from androids who've waged what he calls "Robogeddon" on the title track. Whether the song is really a metaphor for his move away from electronic dance music and rediscovery of organic, live instrumentation, or literally a plea to save the earth's ecology, Sparro makes us believe. In that sense, Return to Paradise isn't just an album about a time when music made us groove in the refracted disco ball light of Studio 54 or the Paradise Garage. Its about how funky, soulful music and a positive attitude can help us recapture our best selves and make a paradise out of the present. As he sings on "Happiness," "I can feel the world spinning round. Do you feel it? Ooh yeah." ~ Matt Collar