Kyle Sparkman’s new track “Restlessness” finds him asking “Hey, was I born into the wrong time?” The initial reaction to this line is a resounding ugh, as we are forced to occupy the reality in which every ten year-old kid with a Led Zeppelin fetish is born in the wrong generation. Clearly, however, that’s not what Sparkman is saying here on his positively funky debut single. Launching with funky guitars, Chromeo-esque synth lines and groovy bassline, he’s not saying he belongs in the past, but questioning whether he belongs anywhere. It’s a relatively sophomoric expression, considering how heavily the song borrows from its Jamiroquai synth/funk influences to the point of being derivative. However, if the intent of the song is to pay tribute to his influences while expressing himself, the song succeeds through clever and apt instrumentation.
The track is anchored by a catchy if inoffensive chorus that speaks to this “restless” nature. Anxious lines like “I’m holding out answers until i figure out a plan” collide with the relaxed instrumental to give the song two heads, each speaking to different personal truths. While the instrumentation aligns itself to the traditional modern funk style (including guitar solo replete with slapback delay) the punishingly crunchy production is absolutely piercing in the high frequencies, especially with Sparkman’s vocals turned up so high in the mix. These poor production choices, along with the overall derivative style, keep any aspect of the song from soaring. There’s a great deal of potential in Sparkman’s clearly talented voice, and taking a few more risks in his songwriting as well as modifying the production style could take him far.
- Catchy chorus
- Effective lyricism
- Talented playing across the board
- Piercing production
- Very derivative instrumentation