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Return to Paradise Import

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, June 26, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

2012 sophomore album from the Australian Soul/R&B/Pop singer/songwriter. Influenced by the sounds of late '70s/early '80s New York Garage Disco/Funk, the album is a play on nostalgia and "Paradise Garage" - a genre derived from the hedonistic discotheque scene in New York in the late 70s that began in a parking lot giving rise to the term "Garage" famous for it's unique and eclectic style of Disco and dance music. The album was produced with long time collaborator Jesse Rogg. Sam Sparro is all about chic, credible cool, coasting a fine line between disarmingly earnest and inspirational style. He has become known not only for his distinct, scale-defying vocals and epic live shows, but also as a visual artist and style icon. He is as musically diverse as he is creatively talented, inspired by Jean-Paul Goode and Andy Warhol as much as he is Prince and James Murphy. Sam's effortless authentic style along with his distinct and captivating personality should be at the forefront of the campaign.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Paradise People
  2. Happiness
  3. Let the Love In
  4. Yellow Orange Rays
  5. Hearts Like Us
  6. I Wish I Never Met You
  7. Shades of Grey
  8. We Could Fly
  9. Closer
  10. The Shallow End
  11. Return to Paradise


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 26, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: 101 DISTRIBUTION
  • ASIN: B007P4OTMO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,283 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Sam Sparro Store

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Top Customer Reviews

By Douglas King VINE VOICE on July 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
So one day this Caucasian, Australian pop singer named Sam Sparro woke up in the morning and found himself possessed by the Ghost of Prince Past. So he proceeded to make an album that references Prince's every incarnation from his end-of-disco "I Wanna Be Your Lover" phase to the late 80's creamy funk of "LoveSexy."

The first section of the album is very upbeat. Prince's early music often served as a manifesto for disenfranchised young people to reclaim the world as their own and make it a better place, and the first several songs find Sparro following in his footsteps. "We, the people of Paradise/We can no longer hide in the night/We must bring these secrets we've learned/into the light," Sparro sings earnestly over slinky synths. The following two tracks, "Happiness" and "Let the Love In" are equally optimistic, followed by "Yellow Orange Rays," a socially conscious song that is so reminiscent of "Sign O' the Times" that I'm seriously concerned that Prince will sue for plagiarism.

The album's finest moment comes with "I Wish I Never Met You," when Sparro stops trying to change the world and laments a romance gone so wrong that he wishes he could forget the whole thing. He follows with "Shades of Grey," which finds him following in Prince's footsteps yet again by exploring his falsetto in a heartbroken ballad. Sparro spends the next few tracks creating a vintage disco inferno, and I'm pretty sure "Closer" actually samples the Charlie's Angels theme song, which is pretty awesome. The album closes with "Return to Paradise," which sounds like it could be a b-side to "Purple Rain."

Despite the album being a blatant homage, Sparro somehow manages to make it work, and even, to some extent, make the sound his own. None of the tracks come close to re-creating the pop perfection of his best song, "Black and Gold," but I think I can safely say he's avoided the sophomore slump with "Return to Paradise."
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Format: Audio CD
Been waiting for Sam Sparro's second CD for several years - now that it has arrived, I can safely say he's avoided the sophomore slump - while not as immediate as his debut or the global hit "Black & Gold," there are several should-be-future-hits on this set - the whole concept/sound is an 80s homage sonically produced by 2012 with allusions to Paradise Garage-era, all with more than a passing nod to Prince - yet Sam still manages to make it his own signature style - "Happiness" is a perfectly realized slice of early 90s piano-driven house with uplifting, soaring vocals - the next track continues the gospel-drenched approach with "Let the Love in," sounding like Sparro meets Zapp - followed a bit later by the second single, "I Wish I Never Met You," another cut that (like Robyn) manages to be both propulsive, yet somber/melancholy, on the dancefloor. All in all, a solid effort from Sam, who delivers a fully realized album rather than simply just a collection of singles. My only question is: when will "Return to Paradise" by released in the States? I had to buy the pricy import CD - and I don't see a date for a domestic release, either CD or digital - what gives? It's a sad day for music when an album as strong as Sam's can't secure a U.S. major label deal?
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Format: Audio CD
"Return To Paradise" is Sam Sparro's sophomore album and is steeped in retro Funk/Disco sounds, like the excellent opening cut "Paradise People" with the lyrics "We are the moon and the stars, the church and the steeple, sent down from Venus and Mars" and a nice squealing guitar solo. "Happiness" is aptly titled, rapturous Dance/Funk with nice House keys, as is the Gospel-tinged "Let The Love In".

"Yellow Orange Rays" is choppy mid tempo Funk/Pop that apes Prince. Other highlights are "I Wish I Never Met You" (with shimmery swirling effects), the falsetto-sung Bee Gees-channeling synth ballad "Shades Of Grey", the groovy string/horn-peppered "We Could Fly", the rousing "The Shallow End" (with party sounds), and the closing moody synth ballad "Return To Paradise.

There may not be another "Black And Gold" on here, but this is a consistent and good follow up that will have you returning for more.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
(Taken from my blog Junk In a Cup)

Singer/songwriter/producer Sam Sparro has truly outdone himself with his second album. While his self-titled debut was a bit all over the place, Return to Paradise has solidarity due to each song's united front on the quest for love and happiness. With the album being well focused sonically, fluidity is present; there will be no skipping around on this masterpiece, no sir! Return to Paradise will have you feeling like you're in a relationship-- leaving you smiling, heartbroken, and empowered all within 47 minutes. Sounds stressful...? Nah!! It's healing to you mind, soul, and most important of all, your ears. IT'S PARADISE (duh)!!!

Return to Paradise begins with the anthem "Paradise People" declaring, "We are the Paradise people/ We are the moon and the stars/ We are the church and the steeple/ Sent down from Venus and Mars". This is the perfect song to set the tone of the album with its smooth funk beat and equally smooth yet hard hitting vocals. The following tracks are "Happiness" (the first single) and "Let the Love In". The latter is where Sam encourages people "live in the light" and reciprocate love; with the former, being another anthemic song, shows his urgency of trying to find, none other than...happiness. Something we all could use more of.

Towards the second half of the disc the Australian born soul singer reminds his listeners why we enjoy listening to him croon in the first place. The second single, "I Wish I Never Met You", is a breakup dance ballad (one of which hits too close to home *sniff sniff sigh*). Sam sings with such conviction that it'll make you want to call your ex-partner and damn him/her to hell (if nothing else, at least throw a pillow at the stereo)!
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