Commute Music of the Week 4/11/14-Sparks “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us”

In the early 1980s, I dated a guy who was very much into what was considered (at least in the United States) cult / fringe bands.   His eight track collection included Kraftwork (who I will forever association with driving on the Garden State Parkway from his house in South Jersey to my house in North Jersey),  and Sparks.

Sparks are a really odd band.   Though they’ve been thrown into the glam rock and new wave categories, neither are quite correct.    The Mael brothers’  music style is all over the place and pared with some of the quirkiest lyrics in semi-popular music.     Russel Mael  has a significant vocal range and in your face performance style which plays counterpoint to Ron’s stoic but confrontational stage presence on keyboards.    Their only significant hit in the US  came with the new wave infused Angst in My Pants, with the chart scoring “I Predict”.    Despite being from Los Angeles, their greatest success has been over in Europe, where they’ve topped the charts several times.

It was through the aforementioned boyfriend’s copy of Kimono My House, that I was introduced to Sparks and this song.  The whole album is marvelous and worth a listen, but this song stands out.   I’ve been caught more than once striking operatic poses in the house and singing along with Russell on this one.    It has all the elements that make Sparks such a fun adventure–clever lyrics,  over top vocals and great melodies punctuated by Ron’s keyboard playing.

Recently this video came out on You Tube,  and its nice to know that Russell,  forty years later can still hit those high notes.



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