When you think of a heartbreak record you might think Adele’s 21, Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk or even Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There, but it’s difficult to think of many electronic records that really had their heart in their mouth. A cursory listen to Samo Sound Boy’s latest record Begging Please and you’d be forgiven for not picking the emotional contents straight away. Begging Please is a collection of bass-heavy tracks with chopped vocal samples – in fact the word ‘love’ isn’t mentioned once, but there’s more to this than lyrical obviousness. Samo Sound Boy has created a sonic journey that proves words are unnecessary when the melodies are so coated in emotion.
Before this, Samo Sound Boy’s greatest accomplishment was the DJ Dodger Stadium record he created with fellow Body High member Jerome LOL. The project mastered puppetry of the heart, swelling with big climaxes and hands-in-the-air vocal-sample triumphs. Samo’s first solo record is not as joyous as that record, but it’s just as emotionally commanding.
In an interview with Fact Magazine the LA producer said Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear was a huge influence on the record. It’s a far out connection but one that’s discovered once you really dig into Begging Please. As bizarre as it may sound, Begging Please acts as an appropriation of the motown genre. There are timeless soulful vocals, the emotion is immediately captured through the melodies and the music is euphoric, even if the subject matter is not. Even the title of Begging Please draws us back to songs like The Temptations Ain’t Too Proud To Beg or The Four Seasons’ Beggin’.
From the album’s beginning, Samo takes us on a journey, building up climaxes and then scattering them like dust; giving us swelling vocal samples only to replace them with isolated synths. After all it’s a story of heartbreak and that includes rose-coloured flashbacks as well as thundering lows. Baby Don’t Stop is giddy with infatuation while something like What Can I Do is a desolate tale of desperation.
Beggin Please is an album of juxtapositions. When we’re lifted up with the dense instrumentation of Save Wait Time, we’re immediately pulled back down with the haunting haziness of Got It Bad. When Feel Something fills up with attraction, The Only Thing elongates the synths and once again puts us at an arms length with the album’s most recurring character – Samo’s once lover.
Samo’s debut is a ride. At times it’s heavy-hearted and dark but it’s triumphant finisher You Come For Me makes it all worth it. With the most rousing vocal sample of the record, Samo builds it up into a firework-worthy masterpiece that continues to build right up until it comes apart at the seams around the four minute thirty mark. As heavy as the album gets, it’s somewhat reassuring that it ends on such a high-mark as if it’s ready to go through those feelings all over again.
Begging Please is a fine example of the emotional power that predominantly instrumental electronic albums can hold. Samo Sound Boy created this record by himself and while you could lazily call it introverted, it’s not. This is an album that wears its heart on its sleeve through crushing beats, soulful vocal samples and climatic instrumental layering. Sonically it’s cohesive, but it’s hard to attach to a genre. While it represents a moment in Samo Sound Boy’s life, it doesn’t sound like it’s specifically attached to 2015. And that’s what makes it a classic.