Return to Paradise

Return to Paradise

by Sam Sparro


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Return to Paradise

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."

Product Details

Release Date: 06/04/2012
Label: Emi International
UPC: 5099964442426
catalogNumber: 6444242
Rank: 295775

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sam Sparro   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,Agogo
Greg Kurstin   Vocals
Linda McCrary-Campbell   Vocals,Background Vocals
Kristle Murden   Vocals,Background Vocals
Stuart Zender   Bass
Chris Falson   Guitar
Jesse Rogg   Synthesizer,Vocals
Timmy Anderson   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar
Steve Graeber   Saxophone
Felix Bloxsom   Drums
Ryan Shields   Percussion
Isabella Summers   Synthesizer,Harp
Caitlin Moe   Violin
Julian Brody   Guitar
Dave Wilder   Bass
Jason Disu   Trombone
Jono Sloane   Synthesizer,CS-80
Charlie Wilcocks   Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes
Bethany Cosentino   Background Vocals
Nick Roseboro   Trumpet
James Bowen   Guitar

Technical Credits

Greg Kurstin   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Lester Mendez   Composer,Programming,Producer,Instrumentation
Stuart Zender   Composer
Jesse Rogg   Composer,Programming,Producer
Timmy Anderson   Composer,Programming,Producer
Jonathan Zawada   Illustrations
Sam Sparro   Composer,Programming,Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Erik Hassle   Composer
Isabella Summers   Composer
Jono Sloane   Composer,Producer
Charlie Wilcocks   Composer
Bethany Cosentino   Composer

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