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In the summer of '74 I was watching some network music show when Sparks came out and Russell Mael falsettoed "Amateur Hour" then "This town ain't big enough for the both of us". I was hooked and bought the next five or six albums until their sound changed from eclectic to middle-of-the-road listening.
People thought; a) I have finally lost it, b) I've gone off to fairyland, 3) my bad taste had made its last stop. Maybe number three more than anything.
This was a very, very well done documentary that provided much background info about the Mael's with a lot of musicians and industry types chiming in their "admiration".
At just over two hours in length, you get enough info and tunes to last a decade or so. Imagine, two offbeat characters still trying to make it for fifty years! They have started all over three or four times. (Does that count as insanity?) No one has been able to put a stake through their hearts so they keep crawling out of their coffins every morning to write and play.
One valuable thing I gleaned from the film: Musicians and sound professionals do not hear what I hear in the peanut gallery. They have a more educated or "liberal ear" than most of us streamers and disk spinners.
Edits: 06/19/21Follow Ups:
Wait. I don't think it possible to be vindicated. You have just found people like yourself that liked Spark. Something along the lines of those who liked the early years of Zappa and his marry pranksters.
The precursor to reality TV was An American Family on PBS in the early 70s. I vaguely recall the kids listening to Sparks. My first actual exposure.
Later in the decade, I moved to LA, where Sparks were played on commerical radio station KROQ, which was apparently not happening elsewhere. At any rate they were a fairly popular group in southern California in those days.
Well the years went by, and every so often I would read a review of another new Sparks album, sometimes I checked it out, but most of them passed me by.
A few years ago, they put out an album with Franz Ferdinand, and I saw them on TV together, and liked that one, then the next Sparks album was Hippopotamus, which I really played to death.
So I'm overdue for a career retrospective, as my knowledge of them is filled with gaps. You know, it's got to be something special, you've got these two quirky guys who don't write normal love songs, who wander far and wide among genres, basically a typical college radio band, and where are the quirky bands of the late 60s now? Probably retired from insurance or real estate careers...but Sparks has a new record just out. I almost went to an actual theater to see this today, maybe later in the week.
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