Release Date: November 25th 2022
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
Samantha Jade– Love.Sick Vol. 1 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)
- Love.Sick (feat. Pastelle)
- Dance Again
- When I Was Young
- Sweet Spot
- Nobody Does Me Better
- Let’s Hear It For The Boy
- Big Blue Skies (feat. Nick de la Hoyde)
Inspiration, encouragement, joyfulness, happiness, and optimism are all in incredibly short supply considering the last few years that we’ve all experienced and endured. In 2020 and 2021 especially (and also in parts of 2022, and a resurgence in COVID-19 cases), we all have been relentlessly knocked down and discouraged by COVID-19- especially the Delta and Omicron variants, the bushfires, the murder of George Floyd, and the falling away of a number of high-profile Christian celebrities from the faith. And in some ways, 2021 was like 2020, and it was a write-off and something that we all wished to be over. However, as I have mentioned many a time, I’ve come to still be encouraged and inspired in the midst of trials, chaos, and calamity. I’ve predominately been inspired through the likes of many different genres of music; and while you can read many of our extensive reviews here, outlining albums from artists across many different genres (country, pop, rock, CCM, worship etc), another new-ish release I’ve been blessed to hear is Aussie pop artist Samantha Jade’s latest EP called Love.Sick, which released in November last year. Now I haven’t had the pleasure of diving deep enough into much of Samantha’s music at all- given that she is a mainstream artist and I have only been listening to mainstream artists on a regular basis since the beginning of 2019, for around about 3 and a half years now. Though I first was introduced to Samantha’s songs in late 2019 through YouTube recommending me “Bounce”; since then, I’ve enjoyed many of her songs- but I wouldn’t say I’m an avid, avid, die-hard fan though. Though her songs “Dance Again”, “Beautiful And Golden” and “Back 2 Back”, have all been such a joy to listen to; these songs have me quietly anticipating Samantha’s brand new full length album, whenever that may be; and Love.Sick Vol. 1 is the next natural progression in the process of unveiling the upcoming album.
Immediately, my eyes are drawn to the most recognisable song on the EP. “Dance Again” is essentially an uplifting and inspirational song about rising above adversity and dancing or being positive in the face of your many trials and tribulations. It’s an emotional, vulnerable, and personal piano ballad, and is lyrically one of the strongest songs of 2022 when it released. It’s a song that is self-explanatory and though it’s lyrically quite simple, the song is incredibly profound and impacting- it’s a song that needs to be heard and experienced to be believed! And as Samantha herself has mentioned, this track is probably one of the most honest and vulnerable of her career.
So, I wrote it in lockdown. And, obviously, what are weird time that we were all going through. And my family are from Perth, so I hadn’t seen them in so long. Every time I would book a trip, like, the Perth borders would close again. And I would– literally, like, there were two times that I was in the car, on the way to the airport, and the borders would close.
I know. And it’s, like, heartbreaking, especially when you haven’t seen them in so long and all of the things that we were going through at the time. And I kind of had written in that time because we weren’t allowed to dance. Remember that? It sounds insane, to say it now.
But it was a thing, you know? So, I wrote it in that time. And I also drew inspiration because I was going through– I suffer from anxiety a little bit. And I was kind of going through a bout of my anxiety. And my mom, when she was sick– my mom was a dancer from when she was three. She danced, her whole life. She loved to dance. It was what, like, singing does for me, just like a relief.
And when she got sick, basically, the cancer kind of went through her whole body. And she couldn’t walk anymore. She couldn’t use her legs, and so she was, like, bedridden for six months, until she passed away. And I just remember her being like– she was still, like, dancing a little bit, you know, like, just the top of her body. And she’d make me dance around the room. She’d still put music on, and we’d have little dance parties; and I thought about, like, you know, God, what am I complaining about, that I can’t go out dancing and I can’t– at least I can dance around the room. She couldn’t.
And so, I wrote this song about, like, when you’re going through moments and you’re sad. And things seem like the world’s going to end. It takes one thought or one thing to turn that around.
Conversely, the title track “Love.Sick” is a pure pop song, and a duet with Pastelle. A track where the two vocalists sing about how they’re in a toxic relationship and about how they’re ‘in love’ with each other, but it’s really an unhealthy kind of love; this melody doesn’t have a redeeming quality on the surface. But “Love.Sick” still speaks to our soul, and it warns us all into even entering into relationships that aren’t edifying for the soul. The remainder of the track list (which we have not heard before), are all powerful, empowering, and compelling melodies, with Samantha imparting wisdom and pearls of treasure within each track. “When I Was Young” is a haunting, authentic, transfixing, and exceptional piano ballad, where Samantha eloquently reiterates that she’s going to live life to the fullest. Also declaring that she’s going to be active in everything she does and not just be a spectator in life, Samantha has in my opinion delivered the most important song on this EP; while the playful, bouncy, and joyous anthem “Sweet Spot” is similar in style and theme to Lindsay Ell’s song of the same name. “Nobody Does Me Better”, a poppy, 2-minute track about knowing yourself inside and out, speaks about how we’re the only ones who can attest to what we want, desire and need, and we’re the only ones we can rely on; while the Footloose classic “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” champions Samantha’s current partner, and lets us know how in love with him she is, while we also admire her relationship and hopefully try to find a partner who we can love like that and who loves us like that, if we are indeed single. Love.Sick Vol. 1 ends with the emotional and hard-hitting piano led melody “Big Blue Skies”, where Samantha sings about getting back to the heart of living- and it is being in community with people and forging strong relationships with deep roots.
Though mainstream pop music and I didn’t really mix well for a while; there are still a handful of songs though that speak out to me. For Samantha Jade though, there’s something special about her music that is so optimistic and feel-good and just plain enjoyable, that I can’t help but be moved and inspired in almost every song. Almost every song in Love.Sick is impressive, thematically, musically, and vocally; as Samantha Jade forges on and readies her next full-length album just as we are starting to live with the long-term effects of COVID-19. And thus, we are nevertheless still reminded that we need to check our hearts and our motivations behind all of the relationships that we’re in- that is the basis and the heart of the entire project. Sure, this EP isn’t a ‘Christian’ project per se… but God still works through these confronting and comforting songs. And now, let me ask what are you waiting for? Do you want to be comforted in the confines of a danceable pop/EDM song? Well then probably the title track of this EP (“Love.Sick”) is your thing. Even if it’s not, then definitely check out “Dance Again” and others from this project; or anything else from Samantha’s discography. And I’d say listen to whatever you can from Samantha’s discography… you might find your next pick-me-up tune that you turn to when you need encouragement. Well done, Samantha, I can’t wait to hear what’s next in store for you.
3 songs to listen to: Dance Again, When I Was Young, Big Blue Skies
RIYL: Kylie Minogue, Jessica Mauboy, Delta Goodrem, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Little Mix, Ellie Goulding