OK, so I haven’t seen Sparks, but I’ve certainly listened to them a great deal this past week. For the unfamiliar, Sparks came into being during the 1970’s, and their most recent endeavor, Hello Young Lovers (2006), marks their 20th studio release. The duo composes songs often employing several vocal tracks (think Queen). Their lyrics not only often cut straight to the point but also, and quite suddenly, straight to the heart.
They’re tricksters; they write songs meant to be fun until that moment/lyric that indicates how jaded they truly are, which by no means causes the enjoyment to cease. Instead, it’s that wince-inducing line that makes the brothers all the more likable. They’re experienced, they’re wary, and they’re intent on making you shake, stop, and thus shake even harder.
“Perfume,” a seeming laundry-list of women and their scents of choice, becomes much more than a catchy synth/jazz/rock number about a man wanting to spend his life with a woman who doesn’t “wear no perfume” upon the confession “The olfactory sense is the sense that most strongly evokes memories of the past / Well screw the past.” And that’s why Mael wants to spend his life with this woman; there’s comfort in knowing she’ll never haunt him. After 20 albums and 30-some-odd years of making music I can scarcely blame him.
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