Now Playing – twice every week, a roundtable of our writers will give their views on some of the recently-released new tracks. It’s as simple as that! If you want to tell us what you think of the song, feel free to leave a comment below.
Track: ‘The Shallow End’ by Sam Sparro
Average Grade: 4.4
Kenneth: Oddly spelt surname aside this little dickie bird delivers a decently weighty slice of late night mid-tempo funky soul. 7/10
Rob: Best known for his 2008 hit ‘Black and Gold’ Sparro was pretty much off my radar until now. Where that now four year old track blended standard dance elements with a more soulful vocal, seemingly from a bygone era, ‘The Shallow End’ is a far more predictable affair.
From the opening ‘party sounds’ it’s clear that this track’s aimed squarely at the dancefloor market. The funky bass and chirping alarm clock synths are a nice touch, as is the middle eight, complete with jazzy sax and a thudding beat, but the rest of the song feels like a straightforward chart-friendly dancealong. The latin inspired beat, handclaps and “woo hoo’s” all combine to make this a potential summer hit to rival the likes of pop-dance superstar Calvin Harris.
‘The Shallow End’ isn’t going to challenge you, it won’t make you sit up and take notice of any innovative sounds and structures, and chances are you’ll forget about it within a few weeks, but as a mainstream dance track it just works. 6/10
Richard: Sam Sparro, where is he now? That’s the question that went through my mind as I pushed my half-full shopping trolley through ASDA last week serenaded by ‘Black and Gold’. It surprised me greatly to find an email from Stef yesterday morning containing this single – THE BIG COMEBACK. ‘The Shallow End’ is a flamboyant misplaced party record. It is a cousin of Tom Jones’ cringeworthy ‘Sex Bomb’. Sparro has regressed into ironic novelty. Yes, this song is shallow, deliberately so. Yes, this is likely the end of Sparro’s pop career.
One last thing, can we please stop using saxophone solo’s in pop singles! 2/10
Antonio: Reminds me of Jamiroquai a little too much and sounds like the kind of music you’d find accompanying an advert for a holiday resort, gym or ladies spa weekend. Really, really cringeworthy lyrics, lame sax solo, sounds very mid ’90s cheese, boring, goes on for five minutes plus. Yaaaaaaaaaaawn. 2/10
Stephanie: Sam Sparro (widely known for his huge hit ‘Black and Gold’) has turned his electronic synth dancing days on their head and geared towards a new ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ sound. Simple catchy lyricism accompanied by a funky bassline, cowbells, backing singers and an impressive sax solo certainly got me on my feet! 7/10
Tom: Sam Sparro tells us he and his friends are “shallow”, apparently, but “they get the job done while they have fun in the sun.” Oh yes, and they’re “crazy” too, and they “do just what they want to do”. If so, it’s hard to imagine why they chose to express themselves through the medium of grim, slack-jawed Euro-disco featuring… wait for it… acid jazz sax breaks. Not crazy, just terrible.1/10
Paul: This is vibrant. This is characterful. This is bringing the recent saxophone solo trend to dizzying new highs. Banging. 8/10
Josh: Australian born, LA raised 2008 pop blip Sam “Black & Gold” Sparrow returns with a 2012 take on an early ’90s take on disco. If that hasn’t convinced you how about some Scissor Sister camp and some Orson-esque “par’dee” genericism? Skillfully managing to place sincere phrases tackling the plight of the mentally ill “the crazy people need love too!” with “Woohoo!” and furthermore “Woohoo!”. This is definitely shallow and, like all things, thankfully, ends. However, the sections of ring modulated dial tone give an indication of a time, very soon when you, yes you will be forced to listen to this, down the phone, repeatedly, punctuated by other sincere phrases like “Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us”. 2/10
Stef: You know, it is a fun, catchy pop song with a very big sound and ditto vocals. Just a bit too generic in my opinion, I feel like most studio houses could churn out something similar to this, which makes it replaceable and, ultimately, forgettable. 5/10