80055-1 Sparks In Outer Space
Produced by Ron Mael and Russell Mael
Released on November 1983
US CHART POSITION #88
Find it at GEMM
80055-1 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

I s this Sparks’ best album? You bet Uranus it isn’t. But the maelodies are marvelous, the irony delicious, and the whole thing holds up to Whomp wheelie well. The first few times I heard Sparks In Outer Space, I hated it. That’s right. This was the Sparks album with “Cool Places,” after all, arguably the dumbest song they’ve ever recorded. And despite the promise of an Angst-full band on the back cover, Sparks hasn’t sounded this simple and synthetic since their Eurodisco days. But you can’t hate a band who still delivers songs like “Rockin’ Girls” and “All You Ever Think About Is Sex.” Nowadays I see Angst, Whomp and Outer Space (in that order) as something of a Sparks renaissance. You could argue that being reborn as a new wave novelty act is payback for some pretty bad karma, and I won’t deny that I miss the analog excess of the early recordings. Synthesizers were initially intriguing and efficient, but by the 80s they were commonplace and banal. It was the banality of Sparks In Outer Space that first struck me. They hardly seemed to be trying on tracks like “Popularity” and “Dance Godammit.” Could it be that the simplicity is part of the irony? I prefer to think so. In that context, their “dumbest” album might be one of the smartest things they’ve done. I’m not ready to call this album a masterpiece of irony or anything, simply collect it from the company of Rabbits and fold it in with Pants.

80055-1 back cover 80055-1 lyric sleeve
80055-1 back cover 80055-1 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. COOL PLACES    3:23
  2. POPULARITY    3:52
  3. PRAYIN' FOR A PARTY    2:59
  4. ALL YOU EVER THINK ABOUT IS SEX    4:09
  5. PLEASE, BABY, PLEASE    3:42
  6. ROCKIN' GIRLS    4:42
  7. I WISH I LOOKED A LITTLE BETTER    2:58
  8. LUCKY ME, LUCKY YOU    3:26
  9. A FUN BUNCH OF GUYS FROM OUTER SPACE    4:00
  10. DANCE GODAMMIT    3:26

    All songs written by Ron Mael and Russell Mael

CREDITS

LESLIE BOHEM -- bass guitar, background vocals
JAMES GOODWIN -- additional concert keyboards
BOB HAAG -- Endodyne guitars and Rland guitar synthesizers, Tab cans, background vocals, and additional bass guitar
DAVID KENDRICK -- drums
RON MAEL -- all synthesizers (Roland JP-8), cover concept
RUSSELL MAEL -- vocals
Jane Wiedlin -- duet vocals (1,8)
Dan Lacksman -- engineer
Brian Reeves -- mixing, engineer
Marc Moulin -- album coordination
Larry Vigon -- art direction and design
Jim Shea -- photography

return to SPARKS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US/UK November 1983 Atlantic LP 80055 lyric sleeve
FRA 1983 Underdog LP 67.981  
US November 17, 1998 Oglio CD 81603  

 

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