Most people reading this review will probably have no idea who Sam Sparro is. Perhaps you’re one of them. Well, Sam Sparro wrote a little song called “Black & Gold,” which appeared on his debut album, which was released in 2008, and it quickly became one of the biggest pop songs of all-time. Not so much here in the U.S., but outside of the states “Black & Gold” was and remains HUGE. And it’s been covered by an awful lot of major artists including Katy Perry and Ellie Goulding, who both did marvelous renditions that rival the original. Unfortunately, “Black & Gold” was to Sam Sparro what “Torn” was to Natalie Imbruglia. Meaning that it made him a one-hit wonder. In most of the world. But, hey, most artists would kill to have such a massive hit that would be remembered for years and years. In any case, Sam released his second album, Return to Paradise, last year, and I thought it was a lovely ’70’s disco/’80’s pop-inspired record. I don’t think it did very well though, as his first two albums were major label releases and this new EP that I’m reviewing here is self-released. But Sam is a smart guy and instead of chasing retro trends, his new release is rather futuristic pop and primed to set trends like his first album did.
The four song EP begins with “Infinite,” a super bouncy banger with a boisterous beat, a groovy melody and a ridiculously catchy chorus, which simply consists of Sam singing the word “infinity” over and over again, stretching it out so that it’s like “iiinnnffiiinniitttyy.” Fitting that such a futuristic sounding song should have a title like “Infinity,” no? Also, Sam has a knack for hanging onto words like that and really shines when he does, so this song gives him the opportunity to really shine and remind people what a great singer he is. And that there’s only one Sam Sparro, regardless of how many times he’s covered.
“Infinity” is followed by “Hang on 2 Your Love” featuring Durand Bernarr. I realize that using the number “2” instead of spelling it out is a very ’80’s thing to do, but I assume people are doing that a lot nowadays with all of that texting bullshit… In any case, the song sounds like a cross between a Diplo-produced beast of a pop song and a massive ’90’s club tune. So, yes, it’s somewhat retro, but the modern elements outweigh the retro elements, so it still sounds very futuristic. Not that it needs to sound futuristic. What it needs to be is infectious and boy is it infectious. “Hang on to your love, don’t let it go,” goes the chorus and you’ll be singing along by the time the song is over. Promise. I mean, you might only be singing it inside of your head, but you’ll be singing it nevertheless. It’s downright contagious. As for Durand Bernarr, I’m not familiar with his work, but he delivers some rather complimentary vocals here, screaming out the chorus, hitting uber-high notes and making it seem easy.
And then there’s “Fascism,” which begins with some dude, presumably a political leader, giving a speech promoting fascism, although he doesn’t specifically say that what he’s calling for is fascism, but surely fascism must be what he’s promoting, given the title of the song and all. Musically, this is a funky, up-tempo dance pop tune that immediately grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go. “I just want to do what I want to do / Don’t you want to do what you want to do / I just came to say what I had to say / Put that shit on lock and throw the key…,” goes the irresistible chorus. The verses are especially interesting here, as they’re from the point of view of, well, the powers that be (political leaders, I assume). “You’re a machine in which a lot has been invested / Now do what you’re told before you get yourself arrested,” Sam sings during the first verse. He never sings the word “fascism” but someone speaks it and the word is cleverly looped throughout the track, particularly during the chorus, as if someone promoting fascism is trying to brainwash you by saying it over and over again and Sam is that brave voice telling you not to listen to it.
The EP concludes with “Fight or Flight,” which sounds like a ’90’s drum ‘n’ bass song initially but soon becomes an inspiring mid-tempo modern pop number (I realize nobody calls songs numbers anymore except for myself, which is all the more reason for me to keep on doing it). “Fight or flight / The adrenaline is pumping / I don’t want to be wrong or right / I want to be good,” Sam sings during the sunshiny, synthy chorus. It’s not as immediately addictive as the other three songs on the EP but it definitely grows on you and sometimes the songs that take a while to do that wind up being your favorites, so it’s certainly worth downloading along with the rest of the EP. Speaking of downloading, I believe the EP is only available digitally right now, though I could be mistaken. Regardless, you can download it from iTunes and Amazon here in the States and I know you can also download it from Amazon UK, and I’m sure it’s available for downloading via iTunes and Amazon in other countries, too. So, you should go and download it right now if you’re a lover of pop, which I assume you are if you’ve read this review up until this point. Here’s hoping that there’s a Quantum Physical Volume 2 and that it’s released soon!