If there is a youtube link out there, I post it with the song but I can't find a youtube link for every song here and you have to download it separately to hear it.
Noel - Is There More To Life Than Dancing (album) 1979
You can listen to the entire album here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz6eUsKOUDE
Sparks wrote the entire album for a female vocalist called Noel. Essentially this is more Donna Summers than Sparks due to the highly repetitive nature and really uninspiring music. It may seem ironic that they are singing "Is there more to life than dancing" and "dancing is Dangerous" to a disco track but the joke wear thins when the entire song is basically just singing that same line without any significant variation in the arrangement (unlike Baby is taking me home).
Verdict: Avoid. This is by far the worst Sparks album (I call it a Sparks album because they wrote every single song in the album) and them at their all time songwriting low (Interior Design sounds like a masterpiece compared to this album). Hell this album is a legitimate challenges Fireman/Paul McCartney's Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest as the worst album I have ever heard and really only better because of the real percussion in the album. Hex 1
Telex - Sex (album)
The Sparks connection is that Ron Mael written the entire lyrics to this album. Although I can't seem to find any lyrics on the internet for me to read through so I find it difficult to judge the lyrics.
I had commented about this album in the past with a negative review however repeated listen that this is actually an interesting album. Think of this album as a Kraftwerk but with a vocalist that sounds like a mixture of Brian Eno and David Byrne. There is hardly any conventional hooks and melodies in the album but there is a claustrophobic neurotic atmosphere that I find interesting. This is hardly my style of music though.
Verdict: An interesting rather than enjoyable album. If you actually a big fan of electronic music then perhaps give it a spin. Hex 7
Get Crazy (song) 1983. A song for a movie with the same name (if you watch the video clip you'll see Lou Reed in the movie as well). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Af4QsIxys
Can be found on the rarities compilation called "The Hell Collection"
This is one of Sparks best songs of the 80's and if it was put on "In outer Space" it would be the best song in the album. The line "I`m a modest sort of guy, kind of quiet, kind of shy
That`s my jet that`s parked outside
How about a little ride ?" is one of their best melodic hooks of their career. Although this is still a synth pop song, unlike other songs in that album, the guitar is actually audible and plays a larger role in this song with it's almost noise rock guitar solo and the bass guitar is prominent in the mix. It really in a borderline between a rock song with synths or a synth pop songs with guitars. So this song would probably be far more enjoyable for people who have an aversion to synth pop compare to any other Sparks songs from In outer Space onwards.
Verdict: If you are a Sparks fan (especially someone who is tolerant to 80's Sparks), it really is an essential song.
Minnie Mouse from the Mickey Mouse Splashdown Soundtrack
Trying to follow up the success of the SNL performance of Mickey Mouse from ANgst in the pants with Minnie Mouse. honestly this song sounds quite sick and perverse as it seems like a love song to a mouse. Musically it's a real weak melodies with Russell Mael just singing along to the simplstic two note synth riff.
Verdict: Pretty bad song
Breaking out Of Prison (song) 1984 from soundtrack Heavenly Bodies
Also can be found in the rarities compilation "The Hell Collection"
well this song is far less palatable to the more rockist mentality with drum machine and cheesy synth opening the song. I can also see how Russell Mael vocalise styling in the verse can be considered annoying. However can anyone get to the chorus without singing along to "Breaking out of prison baby, breaking out of prison girl"? It's ridiculously catchy chorus perhaps annoyingly so.
VerdicT: This song is pretty cheesy and corny but the hooks can't be denied. If you don't have an instinctual aversion to the 80's perhaps give it a listen.
Motorcycle Midget from Bad Manners Soundtrack (1984)
I found the synth riff to be somewhat interesting but unfortunately the vocal melodies is completely non-existence with him singing two note melodies.
Verdict: Let just say that in the Hell Collection that collates a lot of their rarities, they didn't bother putting this song in that collection so it seems that Sparks themselves didn't rate this song particularly high as well.
The Go-Go's - Yes Or No
The sparks connection is that they wrote the song with Jane Wiedlin although they play no role in the performance in the song.
This song sounds lazy and generic and boring. I don't hear any melodic hooks in this song which is quite damning for what is essentially a basic pop song.The lyrics just seems by the books person pining over someone wishing them to tell them whether they like them or not without any sort of trademark Spark's twist to the formula.
"Singing in the Shower", "Live in Las Vegas" and "Hip Kit" with artist "Les Rita Mitsouko" from the album "Marc et Robert" 1988.
Singing In The Shower can also be found in the "Heaven Collection" and "New Music For Amnesiac" compilation
Maybe I'm just bias but the 3 best song of this album just so happen to be written by Sparks.
Catherine Ringer the vocalist of the group has a very unique and eccentric vocal stylising that could e considered interesting or annoying depending on your personal preference. I have a feeling that Russell Mael is drawn to these type of stylised larger than life vocal singers especially when he also likes Kate Bush as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYQYzQf0NIg - The entire song is in French so I can't understand what on earth the song is about. However I find this song is completely captivating with the insane ranting sounding vocal by Catherine Ringer that makes Russell Mael who sings along sound normal in comparison. Good guitar riff underpinning the song and sound interesting disjointed soloing. Overall I like this song.
Singing In The Shower
Out of all the collaboration this is probably my favourite one. It's a synth pop/funk song without sounding cheesy. It reminds me of the "Japanese Whispers" era of The Cure. One of the few Sparks song that you could say that sounds sexy. I love the "IIIIIIII" backing vocals in the chorus that is a great hook
Live In Las Vegas - Probably the weakest of the three songs. The most repetitive of the three song and the weakest hook of the lot.
Verdict: Singing in the shower and Hip kit are pretty great songs. Las Vegas is less so. If you don't have anything against 80's synth pop and you have a tolerance to eccentric vocals then give it a shot.
National Crime Awareness Week from Unlawful Entry soundtrack.
Also is on the Heaven Collection and New Music For Amnesiacs compilations.
I really would love to like this song due to the amusing lyrics about how a criminal see anti-crime campaign as the people honoring him which I find kinda amusing. However it's really just Russell Mael rapping over a techno beat. There's just very small snippet of singing in the entire song as a backing vocalist.
Verdict: Overall repetitive mediocrity.
2001 - "Kimono" with Pizzicato Five from Įā et lā du Japon.
It's Sparks with Japanese rock group and there is a reference to Kimono My House. It's a glam rock song with a vocalist that sounds like a japanese equivalent of Russell Mael singing in Japanese. However in the middle of the song, Russell mAel abruptly comes in and say "We're Sparks Kimono My House" and starts joining in the song. I find it interesting especially how the song at moments of the song abruptly becomes funky in section before returning to the main glam rock song. Enjoy the entrance of the piano in the chorus as well as the guitar solo that sounds reminiscent to Adrian Fisher.
Verdict: Overall a good song and probably the closest thing you'll get to the classic 70's Sparks song in the 00's.
2001 - "La nuit est lā" and "Yo quiero mās dinero" with Grand Popo Football Club from Shampoo Victims.
La Nuit Est La
"Yo quiero mās dinero"
I like both songs. La Nuit Est La essentially a strings and piano ballad over a slow drum machine groove. Sort of reminiscent to Gratuitous Sax and senseless violins but with better production.
"Yo quiero mās dinero" is more of a latin vibe. It's more upbeat and dancible with a pretty good cpercussive groove and some interesting watery sounding keyboard patch in the background.
Verdict: If you are into groups like Air, give these two song a shot as they are decent songs.
2004 - "Acid Pants" with Orbital from Blue Album.
Basically just Russell mael singing "When the laugh track starts, then the fun starts" repeating for the entire song (6:34 seconds).
Verdict: It's basically a complete waste of time.
2005 - remixed Morrissey's song, "Suedehead", for the compilation Future Retro
Great remix. If you like the repetitive but dense multivocal layering of Lil' Beethoven era of sparks or perhaps the vocal mix of The Calm Before The Opera a bonus track from Balls then you would dig this remix. Essentially a strings version of Suedehead with multi-vocal layering.
Verdict: I love Morrissey and I love Sparks and so this remix is absolutely suits me to the tee
2010 - remixed the song "Give Me Something" by Yoko Ono
Sparks actually made Yoko Ono enjoyable to listen to with some classical arrangement with some nice piano playing and some interesting and creepy strings arrangement and almost choir like layering in the chorus.
Verdict: Great remix if you love the 00's era of Sparks
2011 - remixed the song "A Happy Place" by Katie Melua as Sparks Vs Katie Melua
Again Sparks gave the epic "dick around"-esque orchestral arrangement to the song that is quite spectacular if you dig that sound. They also mix it with some vaudeville circus like sound to certain section of hte song. russell Mael gave some of his Queen-esque backing vocals to the song.
Verdict:Essentially Sparks remade this song to fit their image which suits me fine.
There are other rarities where Sparks produced the song (such as the Gemma Ray, Bijou and Adrian Munsey) but I rather only cover material where Sparks actually written or remix the song than merely produce and this is long enough post as it is.
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