Nostalgia is quite a powerful emotion. It stirs memories of our youth, allows us to tap into things we always loved but have forgotten and brings a longing to our hearts.
When I think of the ’80s and ’90s, I think of Janet, Nirvana and ‘Saved By The Bell’.
This emotion of nostalgia is exactly what Sydney-born artist Sam Sparro taps into for what is surprising only his third long player, ‘Boombox Eternal’.
It’s clear Sam has been deeply inspired by the biggest artists of the ’80s and ’90s here. The homage is strong, but it doesn’t feel fake or forced.
The synths and piano line on ‘Everything’ sound straight out of Ms Janet’s ‘When I Think Of You’ – no surprise given he was using the same synths as super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis used originally.
Sam’s voice still gives me chills when I hear it. It’s the right balance of unique and emotive. He sounds great straight off the bat with ‘Pressure’, where he sings about the pressure to perform and be successful. It reminds me of another great similarly-named pop song from Dannii Minogue.
There’s a bit of funk and soul of Sam’s earlier work coming through; slow jam ‘Eye To Eye’ really nailing the nostalgia theme. It’s dreamy, breathy and very sensual.
Album closer ‘The PPL’ featuring Maluca is a fun and sassy way to wrap things up. It’s my favourite song because it has so much life in it. While the lyrics might be a bit more serious, it’s balanced out with the arrangements and vocals, encouraging you to turn up the volume.
This album is the blast from the past you didn’t know you were missing.
At a time when nostalgia continues to reign supreme, Sam continues his track record of excellent work.
‘Boombox Eternal’ is a must listen for 2020. Nicely done sir.
VERDICT : 5/5.
MUST LISTEN : Everything, Marvellous Lover, The PPL.