Daily Mael 2006

This is more like it. Guitars predominate, then, of course a huge church organ intervenes to elbow them out the way and lend majesty and pomp. The timpani and chorus. along with the Hallelujahs create even more grandeur in an excellent slice of grandstanding showmanship.

The force is weak in this one. The repetition trope gets a tad tiresome here, although the percussion is a treat and the entrance of the guitars, whilst a little predictable does give it an extra boost. You keep waiting for it to go somewhere, well, alien, but it never really does. Lyrically, just the title mostly, with some look, look, looks thrown in.

Completely insane. Massed voices (including cat) and piano in the main, with slight addition of strings halfway through make for a thoroughly unhinged experience, like a barbershop quartet on speed. The different trees up which cats get stuck are listed along with a bizarre circus scenario where a tiger is stuck on a high wire during a blaze. The fireman is the hero in all these cases of course. Of course. Bonkers.

Not overly fussy and cleverly structured with great ups and downs. The scanning of the last lines of the verses is brilliant, eg. ‘I’m not buying your Meryl Streep mimicry’ and ‘nothing of a liquid nature’s gonna mess with me.’ The woodwind section is sublime, but the final rock out is probably unnecessary.

‘Whose up for a metaphor?’ Haha. No subject too nuts for Sparks. The sheer cool madness of the line ‘Chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphors’ is indeed ‘a glorious thing.’ The cantering beat trots along nicely as the point is made again and again that metaphors are to be used wisely in order to avoid the ‘hell of loneliness.’ I know, I know. Me neither. Best song about grammatical construction ever.

Scary intro which is then literally disparaged – ‘Soft passages, they get you into trouble.’ Ingenious pisstake of macho rock posturing with a full on orchestral attack to emphasise the point. A thrillingly bombastic counterpoint to every dumb rock cliché under the sun. Stupendous work.

Scathing political commentary featuring the words of the Star Spangled Banner over a mixture of chirpy flamingo, classical guitar, rollicking piano and even a bit of hoedown in there. Incredible stuff, and a totally unique angle to take on the imperialist arrogance of the US. The only respite from the militaristic bombardment is with the ‘Countries, planets, stars’ section, adding a dreamlike air to the proceedings. That rarest of items – a classy protest song.

In which the inevitability of life and its little dramas are acted out, in particular lovers’ tiffs – ‘It’s always the same.’ Enacted through the medium of sparse piano, chorus and intrusion of guitar and, at ‘Open displays of affection,’ another killer melody. The weariness and subtlety gives this a weird kind of tension that is utterly compelling. Live, Ron would fight and knock himself out on a screen to this one. And why not?

Perfect rumbling groove behind a list of which woman wears which perfume. Its simplicity is its strength and, as with so many Sparks songs, it’s hypnotic and completely addictive. The piano parts alone would have made this stand out, but that insistent guitar riff is incredibly effective. Faultless.

What makes this so astounding is the cramming in of as many words as possible into each verse like days of yore, and also repeating phrases constantly as in the later years. All the twists are ear melting, but when the guitar and drums elbow their way in, another layer of madness kicks off. A showstopping, anti-pompous counterpoint to Bohemian Rhapsody, but so so much better.






















1967 – 1969