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Die Alben

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CD16,99 €

Electronic - Erschienen am 15. November 2019 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Auszeichnungen 4F de Télérama
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CD16,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 8. November 2019 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Auszeichnungen 4F de Télérama
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CD14,49 €

Original Soundtrack - Erschienen am 2. Juli 2021 | Milan

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Pop - Erschienen am 15. Mai 2020 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

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Seit über fünfzig Jahren komponieren die Brüder Mael – Ron mit dem Schnauzbart und Russell mit dem dichten Haarschopf – herrlich barocke und raffinierte Pop-Reime, wobei sie sich manchmal auch dem Kitsch annähern... Die Sparks gehören zu der Sorte Musiker, die nie oder nur selten in der breiten Öffentlichkeit beliebt waren, jedoch von vielen populären Musikern verehrt werden. Dieser Ruf durchquert bei den Sparks alle Stile und Genres: von Depeche Mode bis Björk, von New Order bis Kurt Cobain, über die Smiths oder Siouxsie and the Banshees und Sonic Youth, ganz zu schweigen von der Band Franz Ferdinand, mit denen die Sparks ein Album unter dem Namen FFS (Franz Ferdinand Sparks) herausgaben. Ihr 24. Album, A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip, Drip, bildet keine Ausnahme. Die vierzehn synthetischen Pop-Hymnen klingen für ein Duo, dessen Mitglieder über siebzig sind, überraschend frisch. Titel wie iPhone ("Put your fucking iPhone down and listen to me...") oder Lawnmower (Ode an einen hübschen Rasenmäher) sind voller Humor. Das Album endet mit dem bewegenden Choral Please Don't Fuck Up My World, der hinter der oberflächlichen Leichtigkeit ernste Töne anschlägt. Hören Sie dieses Album, während Sie auf die Premiere von Leos Carax‘ Musical-Film warten, der auf einer Idee der Sparks basiert. © Yan Céh/Qobuz
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CD12,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 2. März 1979 | Lil Beethoven Records

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Alternativ und Indie - Erschienen am 1. Januar 2008 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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CD14,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 8. September 2017 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Wofür sich Sparks-Platten nicht eignen: Zur Untermalung eines romantischen Abendessens. Auf längeren Autofahrten mit Kindern. Beim Vorglühen mit Freunden. Nun könnte man fragen: Wieso soll man sie dann überhaupt anhören, wenn schon alle elementaren Alltagsumstände vorab ausgeklammert werden? Vielleicht, weil man sie doch besser alleine anhört, über Kopfhörer auf dem Crosstrainer oder so. Jedenfalls in ablenkungsfreien Momenten, in denen man keine der großartigen Textzeilen überhört und wenn es vor allem keine Rolle spielt, dass einer zuckersüßen Synthie-Ballade ein monotones Rock-Gewitter in Falsett-Stakkato ohne Refrain folgt. Ron und Russell Mael bleiben das komplette Gegenteil der Gallagher-Brüder: Sie haben sich gern, sie sind höflich, fast niemand kennt sie. Den Grund könnte ein vor neun Jahren veröffentlichter Songtitel erklären: "I've Never Been High". Um so höher ist die Leistung zu bewerten, dass "Hippopotamus" das 23. Album ihrer Karriere darstellt. Ihr Referenzwerk "Kimono My House" erschien vor 43 Jahren. Seither machten die Gebrüder vor allem das, worauf sie Lust hatten, und das spielte sich bis auf wenige Unfälle abseits der Charts ab. Aber ist es nicht befriedigender, von Leuten wie Cobain, Patton, McCartney gefeiert zu werden? Dem 72-jährigen Songwriting-Chef Ron, der einst den Roland-Schriftzug seines Synthesizers bei Auftritten in "Ronald" änderte, gehen die Ideen auch im hohen Alter nicht aus. Seinem drei Jahre jüngeren Bruder schreibt er wie schon auf den letzten Alben anschmiegsame und widerborstige, in jedem Fall exzentrische Popsongs auf den Leib. "Probably Nothing" spielt gleich in der obersten Humor-Liga. Welche andere Band würde ihre Hörer im ersten Albumtrack mit einem Song über Gedächtnislücken begrüßen, der in erster Linie besagt, dass das vergessene Thema schon nicht so wichtig gewesen sein kann? "Something to tell you but now I forget / probably nothing." In dem ruhigen Piano-Song schwingt aufgrund des fortgeschrittenen Alters der Maels gleichzeitig eine autobiographische Note mit: "Don't try to think of it / then it'll come / happens a lot lately / I feel so dumb." Kein Grund, sentimental zu werden: Mit dem euphorischen Drive, der an den FFS-Hit "Johnny Delusional" (die 2015er Kooperation der Sparks mit Franz Ferdinand) erinnert, besingen sie in "Missionary Position" ohne Wimpernzucken die Vorzüge der Missionarsstellung: "There are pros and cons to each different pose / but we don't see any need / to get to those / cause we're feeling great / a heightened state / the missionary position." Einfach nur groß! Mit dem Applaus muss man allerdings behutsam umgehen, schließlich folgt mit "Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)" einer ihrer besten Popsongs, der aus dem Stand oben im Sparks-Olymp neben "Good Morning" (2008), "When Do I Get To Sing 'My Way'" (1994) und "The Number One Song in Heaven" (1979) thront. Wieder lohnt sich das Hinhören, weil Russell für einen von der Langeweile des eigenen Lebens gezeichneten Protagonisten folgende Worte findet: "Edith Piaf said it better than me / 'Je ne regrette rien' / pretty song but not intended for me / time to put some Muzak on." In der Bridge bringt er die ganze existenzielle Enttäuschung dann auf einen handlichen T-Shirt-Spruch: "Live fast and die young / too late for that / too late for that!" Es verwundert nicht, dass Ron den Titel "What The Hell Is It This Time?" in einem Interview damit erklärte, dieser spiegele die Erwartungshaltung eines Sparks-Fans kurz vor Veröffentlichung eines neuen Albums wieder. Man weiß vorab einfach nie, was man von den Brüdern bekommt. Auch "Hippopotamus" ist nicht durchweg leicht verdaulich: In "Giddy Giddy" hüpfen die Oktaven in theatralischen, für den herkömmlichen Formatradiohörer nervenaufreibenden Bahnen. Das erwähnte "What The Hell Is It This Time?" nimmt die Fährte ihrer Orchester-Rock-Exkurse auf. Der äußerst skurrile Titeltrack "Hippopotamus" stellt dann in unnachahmlichem Tonleiter-Climbing seitens Russell die essenzielle Frage des Covers: "There's a Hippopotamus / a Hippopotamus / a Hippopotamus / in my pool / how did it get there / how did it get there / how did it get there / I don't know." Und liegen da auf dem Grund nicht auch noch ein Hieronymus Bosch-Gemälde und ein Buch von Shakespeare? Doch! Damn! Die Ballade "Unaware" mit ihren seltsamen Störgeräuschen gerät für meinen Geschmack eine Spur zu unspektakulär und zählt mit "Giddy Giddy" zu den Skip-Kandidaten. Das bitterböse "I Wish You Were Fun" und das mit barocker Schwere arrangierte "So Tell Me Mrs. Lincoln Aside From That How Was The Play?" entschädigen dafür aber sofort. Der Akkordeon-Walzer "When You're A French Director" ist nichts als eine wunderschöne Hommage an Regisseur Leos Carax, mit dem das Duo seit Jahren an einem Film-Musical ("Annette") sitzt. "A Little Bit Like Fun" und "Life With The Macbeths" lassen "Hippopotamus" sanft und melancholisch ausklingen. Betrachtet man dabei die kalifornischen Senioren, wie sie sich auf der Album-Rückseite nach all der Aufregung mit einem Nilpferd im Swimmingpool erschöpft im Liegestuhl niederlassen, kommt man nicht umhin, sich wehmütig mit der Vorstellung auseinanderzusetzen, dass dieses 23. Studioalbum vielleicht tatsächlich das letzte Sparks-Album sein könnte. Es wäre nicht nur ein würdiges Abschlusswerk, sondern auch eines ihrer schönsten Albumcover ever. Wie sagte Ron 1983 anlässlich des Covers zu "In Outer Space", wo ihm eine Torte ins Gesicht fliegt: "Für ein gutes Cover würde ich wirklich alles tun." And so much more! Ich sage schon mal: Danke für alles. © Laut
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CD8,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1990 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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CD13,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 26. November 2002 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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CD11,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 11. August 2008 | Rhino

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CD11,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. März 2006 | Lil Beethoven Records

Why it is that after years or even decades some artists continue to thrill and entertain while others just burn out badly is one of those great mysteries, but in the example of Ron and Russell Mael, aka Sparks, they're firmly in the former category. Hello Young Lovers is their 20th studio album in 35 years, not to mention one of their best. Following on from their enjoyable all-classical instrumentation experiment, Lil' Beethoven, Sparks take their cue here from the album's one song that added full rock band instrumentation to all the strings, "Ugly Guys with Beautiful Girls." The resulting fusion on Hello Young Lovers -- with the brothers and drummer Tammy Glover now accompanied full-time by former touring guitarist Dean Menta, along with Redd Kross' Steve McDonald guesting on bass and Jim Wilson on guitar -- audibly harks back to the U.K. glam era of the band but crucially does not simply replicate it. Instead, it's as close to a full mélange of all the band's various sounds thus far over the years, as Lil' Beethoven's orchestral swoops are shot through with feedback and subtler hints of the various dance incarnations of the duo. Opening track "Dick Around," with its rapidly ascending and descending melodies, absolutely precise performance (Russell's voice continues to be one of the best ever in the field while Ron's ear for immediate but busy-as-heck hooks similarly hasn't gone stale), and back-and-forth arrangements between strings and guitar is a tour de force on its own, not to mention showing that the trademark Mael misanthropic wit remains fully intact. From there, Hello Young Lovers is off to the races, with only a tiny misstep or two along the way ("Here Kitty" is cute but slight, "Metaphor" takes a while to connect fully). First single "Perfume" is a delight, a finger-snapping swing of a song that's still very 21st century, with a classic Russell spoken word break to boot. Other highlights include the outrageous "(Baby Baby) Can I Invade Your Country?," a reworking of the American national anthem that turns into the slyest post-9/11 song yet, and the stellar conclusion "When I Sit Down to the Play the Organ in the Notre Dame Cathedral." "Waterproof" might be the best song in the end, Russell singing like butter couldn't melt in his mouth about being a merrily heartless bastard untroubled by his former love's "Meryl Streep mimicry" while the sound moves from chamber music to a hint of '30s jazz to a full rock-out apocalypse. If, as is often alleged, Queen ripped off Sparks to fully kick-start their own career, Hello Young Lovers is Sparks having the last and best laugh, not just on their former rivals but on all those bands now and then whose members may have listened in but never showed even a tenth of the Maels' genius and inspiration. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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CD11,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 11. August 2008 | Rhino

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CD13,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1997 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

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CD14,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. Oktober 1975 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

In the '70s and '80s, Sparks' American fans couldn't understand why the Mael Brothers weren't as big in the United States as they were in England. "Why don't more of our fellow Americans realize just how great these guys are?" was the question that Sparks addicts in the U.S. often found themselves asking. Whatever the reason, British audiences really connected with Sparks' goofy, insanely clever lyrics -- and the fact that Russell Mael sings like he could be an eccentric upper-class Englishman (although he was born and raised in Los Angeles) probably didn't hurt. Indiscreet, which was the Mael Brothers' third album for Island and their fifth album overall, is state-of-the-art Sparks. The power pop melodies are consistently infectious, and the lyrics are as humorous as one expects Sparks lyrics to be -- nutty gems like "Pineapple," "Happy Hunting Ground," "Tits," and "Get in the Swing" will easily appeal to those who like to think of Russell and Ron Mael as the pop/rock equivalent of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Like other Sparks releases of the '70s, Indiscreet did much better in England than it did on the North American side of the Atlantic. In the U.S., this 1975 LP appealed to a small but enthusiastic cult following -- in Great Britain, Indiscreet was a big seller and appealed to a much larger and broader audience. Over the years, Sparks has experimented with everything from hard rock to Euro-disco. But power pop is the primary focus of Indiscreet, which went down in history as one of the band's best '70s albums. © Alex Henderson /TiVo
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CD14,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. Oktober 1976 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Most of this album 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 the Mael brothers' 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. © James A. Gardner /TiVo
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CD9,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1974 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

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CD13,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. November 1974 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

What better way to promote Sparks' spinning blender of demented pop than Propaganda? The band's fourth album (and second with producer Muff Winwood) is chock-full of great ideas, including the overseas hits "Something for the Girl With Everything" and "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth." With Russell Mael delivering the lyrics in his rapid-fire falsetto, the lyric sheet is a necessary compass, as the clever wordplay is a key to discovering what these pranksters are up to. Ron Mael's skewed take on relationships ("At Home, at Work, at Play," "Don't Leave Me Alone With Her") are nearly upstaged by the hyperactive arrangements, but when the words and the music click, it's pure magic. In fact, "Bon Voyage" might be the most sublime song they've ever written, teetering between genuine pathos for and lampooning of the plight of those left behind by Noah and his ark. Other highlights include "Achoo" (about, you guessed it, catching a cold) and "Who Don't Like Kids," in which Mael uncorks the opening lines "You got a cigar, here's a couple more/Because the offspring are springing through swinging doors" in a few seconds. The torrential outpouring of words and ideas, underscored by guitars and keyboards with oft-shifting rhythms, either repels or attracts listeners. Though the similarities to Queen are sometimes striking, they eschew that band's seriousness and epic guitar work, favoring hit-or-miss observations that suggest a cross between 10cc and the power pop of the late '70s. Propaganda remains one of Sparks' brightest achievements, brimming with a loopy charm that continued to captivate the open-minded English listeners, if not their close-minded countrymen in the U.S. [Note that European CD reissues in the late '90s include non-album B-sides from the record's two U.K. singles as bonus tracks: "Alabamy Right" and "Marry Me."] © Dave Connolly /TiVo
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HI-RES8,99 €
CD5,99 €

Rock - Erschienen am 18. Juni 2021 | Back Lot Music

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CD14,99 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. November 1974 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

What better way to promote Sparks' spinning blender of demented pop than Propaganda? The band's fourth album (and second with producer Muff Winwood) is chock-full of great ideas, including the overseas hits "Something for the Girl With Everything" and "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth." With Russell Mael delivering the lyrics in his rapid-fire falsetto, the lyric sheet is a necessary compass, as the clever wordplay is a key to discovering what these pranksters are up to. Ron Mael's skewed take on relationships ("At Home, at Work, at Play," "Don't Leave Me Alone With Her") are nearly upstaged by the hyperactive arrangements, but when the words and the music click, it's pure magic. In fact, "Bon Voyage" might be the most sublime song they've ever written, teetering between genuine pathos for and lampooning of the plight of those left behind by Noah and his ark. Other highlights include "Achoo" (about, you guessed it, catching a cold) and "Who Don't Like Kids," in which Mael uncorks the opening lines "You got a cigar, here's a couple more/Because the offspring are springing through swinging doors" in a few seconds. The torrential outpouring of words and ideas, underscored by guitars and keyboards with oft-shifting rhythms, either repels or attracts listeners. Though the similarities to Queen are sometimes striking, they eschew that band's seriousness and epic guitar work, favoring hit-or-miss observations that suggest a cross between 10cc and the power pop of the late '70s. Propaganda remains one of Sparks' brightest achievements, brimming with a loopy charm that continued to captivate the open-minded English listeners, if not their close-minded countrymen in the U.S. [Note that European CD reissues in the late '90s include non-album B-sides from the record's two U.K. singles as bonus tracks: "Alabamy Right" and "Marry Me."] © Dave Connolly /TiVo
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CD13,49 €

Pop - Erschienen am 1. August 2000 | BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd