Friday, June 27, 2008


There's been much ado in the U.K. about Sam Sparro, the 25-year-old R&B singer-songwriter whose debut single, "Black and Gold," leapfrogged over Madonna and Justin's "4 Minutes" to the No. 2 spot on the U.K. singles chart in April. Ultimately, Madonna had the last laugh as she sailed past Sparro to the top and stayed there for four weeks, while "Black and Gold" had to settle for three weeks as the bridesmaid.

Although I get Sparro's appeal, and his talent is undeniable, I find his singing somewhat mannered and his music overmanicured. It's like the aural equivalent of that immaculately coiffed patron saint of metrosexuals David Beckham, who looks like he spends every minute off the soccor field in front of a mirror. That said, Sparro has his moments, like the song "Miss Rexi," included on his 2007 Black and Gold EP but not on his debut CD, Sam Sparro, which was released in the U.S. on Tuesday. Musically, it's the kind of solid blue-eyed soul that doesn't sound all that much like the music black artists actually produce anymore. Listen closely, though, and you'll discover a deliciously subversive point of view. Sparro serenades stick-thin starlet wannabe Anna Rexi, pleading with her to eat something: "Girl I want to fatten you up. Get you back into a C cup." How's that for a unique--and responsible--message in this age of lollipop-figured female stars? Tell it, brother!
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