The famous 1970s-1980s nightclub, Paradise Garage in New York City is the huge influence in the new Sam Sparro CD, Return to Paradise. You can feel this appreciation for R&B/dance/pop like 80’s Shalamar, Rufus & Chaka Khan, and Prince all over this record. Organic dance songs with natural voices and instrumentation beyond the drum machines are the order of the day here.
The CD kicks off with “Paradise People” and the song feels like a spiritual calling to embrace your own creativity (“We are the paradise people / The moon and the stars / We are the church and the steeple / Sent down from Venus and Mars”). “Happiness” continues this emotion by Sam lyrically choosing to stake a claim in joy (“”happiness..you belong to me..happiness..you’re mine!”). In fact, with exception of melancholy pop single, “I Wish I Never Met You”, the mood of the entire CD is an upbeat and intentional “It Gets Better” statement for all of us. The single, “The Shallow End”, is a party by itself with its engaging rhythm, chorus chants, and nice saxophone work. In all, it’s a more focused and engaging effort than his self-titled debut on Island Records.