Daily Mael – 1977

Introducing Sparks

Another outtake. A faux 60s feel. Just like the lyrics, I have many different sized doubts about this one as it strains to rise above the ordinary.

Amusing outtake with rare appearance of the voice of Ron Mael in the deep harmony. ‘Big Sid’ is the main mastermind behind this audacious crime.

The basic recording I’ve heard promises so much – the chorus in particular sounds as if it could have been a soaring hookline given further development, but I guess we’ll never know what the final recording would have been like. Shame.

B.R.E.A.T.H.E. – Unreleased demo (here along with ‘Trying Day’ and ‘The Biggest Party In The World’) with a thumpingly simple piano and spelled out chorus which hops along wonderfully. There really aren’t enough songs out there about breathing – the one thing everybody (alive) has in common. The perils of not following the essential advice of ‘in, out’ offered by the backing vocals are plain to see: ‘And when you stop, they throw some dirt on you and say some words that you can’t hear, so don’t stop.’

Completely over the top, but that’s exactly why it works so well. Philosophy and bombast all in one grandiose existential package, questioning the whole of life, time and space. The ultimate parody of a huge ballad, including corny guitar solo and dramatic drum fill.

Uber Beach Boys parody/homage. A straight ahead summer song sensation. Full of summer song clichés, longing for the heat and happier days. Even includes plenty of ‘wa wa ooh’s. A bit harsh on Karen though.

Classic Glitter Band type drumming for a glam rock n roll tune. Probably the only song ever to mention ‘beriberi, menopause, and even halitosis’ in the same breath, as the poor soul looks up his symptoms.

For pure oddball thrills this is hard to beat. That cheesy string opening dissolving into a cossack dance is just joyous. No pretentious tantrums here, just a head on old school hymn to hedonism all done in the worst possible taste.

Starts with a weak, sub Johnny Rotten type ‘A right!’ as a wry statement on the air of rebellion around at the time. The desperate wish to cling on to youth comes across as just that – desperate. But obviously that’s the point.

A real stomper with some great ‘ooohs.’ The whole determinedly negative vibe lends a depressive air to the song but also a bolt of self-awareness:  ‘I’m not joking when I say, I’m not myself any day.’ Relentless.

Immaculate. For once, the lush production really works. The harmonies, backing vocals and guitar notes all meld together into a gorgeous sound. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of pure catchy melodies they come up with.

Another sensational song that just needs some kind of extra sharpness to make it more Sparksian. The initial speaker to speaker bounce hints at abstraction but then it settles down to that glossy AOR feel.

Sparks go mainstream. Big solid pop song. Very slick workmanlike production and music. Formulaic guitar solo and quasi Beach Boys backing. It’s not a bad song and that is a classy melody, it’s just unsparky.







1967 – 1969

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