One of the demos made for Arista after Columbia dropped Sparks after “Introducing Sparks.” A fun, anthemic paean to the universal urge and a sort of updated Cole Porter ‘even educated fleas do it.’ kind of sentiment. “It’s a thing even communists do.”
Another rarity with Ron’s lyrics being mired in irony and cheek. ‘I wish I could sing like I’d suffered a lot.’ Indeed. The funny overly clumpy instrumental bit serves to emphasise the awkwardness on display.
Subtle homage with a dreamy soundscape and strangely middle eastern feel to it amid the strings and synths. Some deft rhyming too, including ‘Paris/embarrassed.’
An unreleased track. Nice shuffling beat and simple melody, with a subtle twist on an old saying – ‘misery loves another unpleasant person.’
Extremely infectious jolly clapalong with ‘don’t let it get me’ chant referring to the monster in question. Again, the perils of love (‘it’s worse than war, it’s worse than death’) are laid out as a warning. The singer seems confident he can avoid the pitfalls but is still wary.
Big soundscape for this sad tale of exaggerated disintegration as the drooling protagonist reflects on his lot in life. Is this Sparks wondering where did it all go wrong. The scene appears to be a nursing home or hospital where the patient is literally cutting his nose off and dropping food: ‘Where’s my mouth, man, this eating is rough on the shirts.’ Crumbs.
Quite a funky groove going on and the ‘Ooowee aah’ bits are good. Addictive even. Hard not to sing along to them. A strange tale of a chemistry/biology lesson going awry. You really have to admire the half rhyme of ‘news at eleven’ with ‘Edgar Rice Burroughs’ though.
Not a lot to this one. Which is fitting, I suppose. The hook, for what it’s worth, is just the same four notes, so it never really lifts off. Maybe that’s why he sings ‘Don’t play that riff.’ Anyway, the jist is, he loses weight due to sex, then puts it back on after they spilt up, when she finds another chubster.
Love the ludicrous ‘my my my’ bits and listing of types of lip wigs (‘when I trimmed ’em real small, my Jewish friends would never call’). Then there’s the bizarre breaks with women saying moustache and the hilarious, ‘The only time I feel bad is when they guess the lunch I’ve had.’ Comedy gold.
The banal Disneyfication of fun is reeled out against a backdrop of a tune resembling a lightweight version of Kraftwerk’s Neon Lights. The list of animals feels like it’s going to go on forever until he rans out after ‘fish,’ following it with ‘goldfish.’ Funny.
The sad tale of a cigarette called Nicotina, who is ‘born to lose…born to fill the lungs of Jack, the lungs of Jill.’ It doesn’t get more anti Nursery Rhyme than this. The filmic atmosphere and 60s detective tv theme type guitar sound add to the overall sense of kitsch drama and preposterous tragedy.
Great thundering deep bass drums with the lightest of keyboard touches thrown in. The little guitar stabs float in and out and the whole structure builds subtly. There’s a little touch of the Marc Bolan’s in Russell’s delivery.
Yee-ha. The rhythm of the words in each line is perfect. Solid and catchy. The subject matter is fairly straightforward, best summed up with the couplet, ‘No one has the time to eat a meal or to think, because they’re way too busy doin’ Kama Sutra-y things.’
Quality chant fare, listing ridiculous predictions which are predictably ridiculous, National Enquirer style, such as, ‘They’re gonna find the Queen is a man but that Philip don’t care.’ Humour a bit forced in this one with the exception of ‘this song will fade out.’
A real grower. And a growler. The melody seems so familiar and predictable but, as in all the best Sparks numbers, a real surprise awaits when you get to the chorus as Russ sings the title in a lower register. Wonderful. Now THAT’S how you do wordplay.