COVER OF THE WEEK: ROCK THE BOAT (AALIYAH) – SAM SPARRO

We all know Aaliyah’s 2001 single ‘Rock The Boat’ is a masterpiece. It’s one of the greatest R&B records of the early 00s (and that’s saying something because that period yielded A LOT of great music) so of course anyone attempting to take on the song by way of a cover is doing so bravely.
Well, I think Australian singer/songwriter Sam Sparro has created something pretty special here. Gone is the soulful and sensual groove, instead replaced by synths and an electronic dance beat that is perhaps intentionally reminiscent of another Aaliyah track, ‘Try Again’. Whilst the production here has had a complete reworking, what is retained from the original (and what I believe helps makes this version a success in its own right) is the soulful vocal delivery, meaning the song’s subject matter doesn’t lose any of its truth.

Sam’s voice always gives me Prince vibes the way he goes from his rich, deep bottom end right up to a soaring falsetto and it serves these lyrics beautifully. Although released unofficially over four years ago, if you threw Drake on there as a featured artist this song would work well on the radio.

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