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Sparks - Lil' Beethoven CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.20 | 58 ratings

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5 stars It took Sparks another six years to follow up Gratuitous Sax & Senseless Violins, but Balls was clearly not what the audiences wanted to hear by that point in time. Instead of sinking even deeper into electronic soundscapes and alienating even more fans, Sparks made a genius move of moving away from the tradition pop music and leap into the domain of pure Art Rock!

The duo dropped the synth-pop sound and began developing music based upon piano arangements and lyrics of Ron Mael and Russell Mael's vocals. New inspiration sources like a clear incorporation of classical music, distinct piano lines, synthesized orchestration and multi-tracking was brought in to completely change the band as we've known them for the last 30 years. This was clearly a huge leap into the unknown which most long lasting acts wouldn't even imagine of taking, but Sparks were clearly brave enough to undertake such a move!

The final result was a smashing success with the critics, something that Sparks haven't achieved since the early '70s! It was a bit unfortunate that the music on Lil' Beethoven was ignored by the mainstream audiences, although it is somewhat understandable since this album wasn't streamlined for anyone who can't handle Art Rock. This music might seem very simplistic at first, but this is far from a simple record that most people would associate with pop music, a weird contrast indeed!

A DVD produced by Demon Vision was also released of a live performance of the album. The live performance was filmed in March 2004 at the Södra Teatern here in Stockholm, Sweden and I was there to witness the even! Sparks performed the album in all its complete glory and followed it by a set of twelve older classics. Truly a magical once in a lifetime event.

I clearly have a soft spot for Lil' Beethoven, but it's not based on a completely sentimental level. There compositions are truly a spectacle to behold and I have no intention of ruining any surprises for you. Seek out this album and find the magic for yourself!

***** star songs: The Rhythm Thief (5:19) What Are All These Bands So Angry About? (3:32) I Married Myself (4:58) Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls (7:07)

**** star songs: How Do I Get To Carnegie Hall? (3:50) Ride 'Em Cowboy (4:20) My Baby's Taking Me Home (4:42) Your Call's Very Important To Us, Please Hold (4:11) Suburban Homeboy (2:58)

Rune2000 | 5/5 |


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