Friday, October 27, 2017
Mael Call: A Sparks WEEKEND MIX
If a discussion about one of the most divisive recordings in music history, Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica" wasn't fun enough, how about a Weekend Mix from one of the most divisive duos in music history, the Mael Brothers, better known as Sparks.
Yes, I am one of those that simply does not get "Trout Mask Replica" and now I am asking you to get two odd brothers from L.A., who have been making commercially suicidal records for over 40 years. Ron and Russell Mael have been doing exactly what they want from the the very first notes of their debut as Halfnelson. When the demos for that record were handed to Todd Rundgren for production duties, the Maels were expecting anything but what Rundgren had to say, which was, "It's fine the way it is." Maybe it was that initial kick of approval that set the Maels in motion for a career that has been as diverse as Rundgren himself. Quirky pop, hard rocking glam, techno, disco, baroque and opera have all been taken on across a 40 plus year span that includes some of my favorite records of all time. And it's rare when an artist can release a legendary glam masterpiece like 1974's "Kimono My House" and then release one of the best records of their career, the critically acclaimed "Hippopotamus," 43 years later.
This mix was not an easy one to compile. At no time did I think, "I love this song, but it might not go over well." I was mostly thinking, " I love all of these songs, and none of them will go over." My feeling is, you are either in or your out with Sparks.
It took all I had to not include all of "Kimono My House" and then work around that, which is a method BBJ often uses on his mixes. I like that method a lot, but there was too much I wanted to include. I left off the band's biggest hit, "Cool Places," the duet with Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Gos. I don't mind that song, but if there was one song you already knew, it was that one, and thankfully, that song does not represent this band. As a matter of fact, I don't think any one song or album represents these geniuses.
Maybe you'll hear what I hear, like the powerhouse of the opener, their signature song "This Town Ain't Big Enough." Or, the brilliance of the dynamics in "My Baby's Taking Me Home." Or, the hilarity of "Dick Around." And again, I will use the word "genius,"especially when referring to the subject matter and execution on "What The Hell Is It This Time."
Anyway, here goes nothing! It is by no means definitive, but I like it.
Good luck and godspeed.
This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us
Tips For Teens
At Home At Work At Play
I Bought The Mississippi
My Baby's Taking Me Home
Hospitality On Parade
Lighten Up, Morrissey
Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth
When Do I Get To Sing "My Way"
What The Hell Is It This Time
Don't Leave Me Alone With Her
Under The Table With Her
Hasta Manana, Monsieur