With a Michael Jackson vibe, “One Step at a Time” says to be patient and steady while pursuing dreams. “Now You Tell Me” reminds listeners that actions speak louder than words in romantic relationships. Love songs express undying devotion (“Just for the Record”), yearn to take a solid friendship to the next level (“Next to You”), cherish a bond despite its ups and downs (“Freeze”), and use dramatic metaphors to describe the pain of being apart (the Kelly Clarkson-esque “Permanent Monday” and Chris Brown duet “No Air”). “See My Side” calls a truce in a spat, seeking understanding and refusing to assign blame. In the spirit of 1 Samuel 16:7, a girl devalued by someone reassures herself that “God Loves Ugly” and sees beauty in her. “Tattoo” bravely ends an unhealthy union, however …
It’s unclear if he’s a boyfriend or a husband. Though Sparks is done with “bad boys,” “Shy Boy” still endorses flirting in a club setting. Adults’ opinions are disregarded by a “Young and in Love” couple (“Who are they to decide if it’s wrong, if it’s right?”).
Except for a few regrettable glitches, Sparks’ first CD is a lively, hook-laden Valentine boasting the sonic variety and sweetness of a Whitman’s Sampler.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.