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Big Beat

Sparks

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Album Review

Most of Big Beat finds Sparks doing what they do best: spewing out clever, mile-a-minute lyrics over solid rocking accompaniment (this time, provided by a superior group of studio musicians). Drummer Hilly Michaels and guitarist Jeffrey Salen lend Ron and Russell Mael's songs considerable rock & roll authority. Standouts include the opening blast "Big Boy" (which was featured in the film Rollercoaster), the propulsive "Fill-Er-Up," and the falsetto-delivered proclamation "I Like Girls," apparently a leftover from their previous album, Indiscreet. Generally, however, they eschew the elaborate arrangements of Indiscreet and go for a powerful, stripped-down sound. As titles such as "Everybody's Stupid" and "Thrown Her Away (And Get a New One)" suggest, the album brims with decidedly politically incorrect (and often hilarious) lyrics. [The 2006 edition includes six bonus tracks.] ~ James A. Gardner, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Sparks is the vehicle for the skewed pop smarts and wise-guy wordplay of brothers Ron and Russell Mael, Los Angeles natives who spent their childhood modeling young men's apparel for mail-order catalogs. While attending UCLA in 1970, the Maels formed their first group, Halfnelson, which featured songwriter Ron on keyboards and Russell as lead vocalist; the...
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Big Beat, Sparks
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