Sunday, June 24, 2012

Music I Like: Sparks

I found out about Sparks, not through combing the stacks at a thrift store, but through a movie-channel re-run of 1983's Valley Girl starring Nicolas Cage.

I can't remember if the movie's good, but this Sparks tune, "Eaten by the Monster of Love", caught my attention as I thought it reminded me of a funner Television and waited for the credits, expecting it to be some 80's solo track from Tom Verlaine, and found out it was some band "Sparks", founded by brothers Russell and Ron Mael, who had made the track 13 years deep in their career. I wondered if I was going overboard by immediately downloading their entire discography, but they have delightfully surprised me each time they come up on my iTunes. I always shuffle, so some downloads can get lost for months before I come close to listening to the whole album, but I always notice the Sparks songs. When I hear something so weird and uninhibited, affected but not pretentious, I know it can only be one band. After 20+ albums, they are still a band, and plan a tour of Europe this fall. I can't believe they can still stand each other!

This is a great tho not HD interpretation of their weird style. I don't know what's charming about the naivete of imperfect manual camera tricks that allow you to see it's a fabrication. It's more unique than letting a computer take care of it.
This one also has some LOL moments like at 2:02 when singer Russel Mael takes 4 successive whiffs of a bayou and at 3:23 when he walks in front of the Parthenon three times across the screen to the left and then once to the right

Keyboardist / Guitarist Ron Mael's Hitler mustache always cracks me up, but in this video he gets in lingerie and does a strip tease.
The lyrics are hilarious and insightful: "You're gonna have/ a bowl of chow mein/ and get hungry real soon./ I predict!"
Then, they call their own shot on the fade out: "And this song will fade out,/ and this song will fade out,/ and this song will fade out./ I predict!"

This one's amazing too, reminds me of "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid. I love 80's melodrama!

More good, "Complaints" from their classic Kimono My House

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