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Sparks - Angst In My Pants (1982)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by ladyislingering, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. ladyislingering

    ladyislingering retired

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    Whether satirizing the music scene or not, Los Angeles natives Sparks (led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael) embarked on a new wave masterpiece in the midst of an all out synthpop explosion.

    "Angst In My Pants" was born shortly after Sparks' 10th album, "Whomp That Sucker"; both albums were produced and engineered with the help of Reinhold Mack (or just "Mack") via Giorgio Moroder Enterprises. It was recorded at Musicland studios in Munich, Germany.

    Carrying on with the previous line-up from "Whomp", Sparks' personnel for "Angst" was as follows:

    Russell Mael (vocals), Ron Mael (keyboards, synthesizers), Les Bohem (bass), Bob Haag (guitar), David Kendrick (drums), and James Goodwin (additional synthesizers).

    From the get-go the listener is met with a striking cover image (which was the brainchild of Ron) :

    [​IMG]

    Younger brother Russell, to the right, with a whiter smile and wardrobe than ever; older brother Ron to his left hamming it up in a wedding dress. Already it becomes apparent that you're in for something especially bizarre.

    The opening track is the title track; "Angst In My Pants". Filled with sneaky, clever lyrics, the song introduces you to a protagonist with quite a problem.

    In case the title wasn't obvious enough to the purpose of the song already. According to the lyrics, the protagonist is out and about with a group of people, but he's not so crazy about it.

    An ode to the dreaded male issue of the random erection, "Angst In My Pants" is sure to make even the most hardened man smile with pleasure.

    "I Predict" was the only popular single from the album, reaching no. 60 on the Billboard charts in the States in May. With a disturbing music video allegedly directed by David Lynch, and snarky lyrics galore, surely anyone can see why I actually have the 12" single with extended version.



    While treated to a striptease by Ron Mael, the song is an apparent ode to the buffoonery of the National Enquirer. In fact, the opening line is, "You're gonna take a walk in the rain, and you're gonna get wet. I predict."

    Some of my favourite lines:

    Ron's striptease act was actually used in a handful of performances of "I Predict" and usually executed in a slow, sassy manner while the band extended the song. However, it was not featured when they guested that year on popular American variety/comedy show "Saturday Night Live".

    An obnoxious ode to the oversexed nature of musical acts of the era, "Sextown U.S.A." is a slightly uncomfortable (albeit funny) track. A tiny little peek at a less-than-coveted but difficult to find track:

    At some point during the record, things become rather mellow, allowing for "Sherlock Holmes".



    Bass and drum heavy, though soft as can be with swooping vocals (exhibiting the first time on the record the listener is treated to Russell's infamous falsetto) the track is still open to my personal speculation, as the lyrics are rather bland and the song is a bit of a "filler track".

    In the art of never failing to poke fun at anything and everything, Ron wrote "Nicotina", an apparent stab at the hopelessly nicotine-addicted. "Nicotina" personifies the cigarette (ex.; once in a while a cigarette has a name).



    Some of my favourite lines from the track:

    Wrapping up side A of the record is the other song Sparks brought to Saturday Night Live, "Mickey Mouse". Here's the clip from said performance:



    I haven't much to say about the song itself because it's so obnoxious, but Ron's expressions will put a sensible person in stitches. (Just like Russell's outfit is almost enough to cause seizures.)

    Side B of the record will be discussed in the next post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2010
  2. ladyislingering

    ladyislingering retired

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    When you're Ron Mael, you can grow a weird moustache and almost get away with it. Or, you can just write a song about your moustache, and slap it on the B-Side of "I Predict".

    Opening up side B, the song is appropriately named "Moustache".



    A few favourite lines from this song:

    What I believe to be another filler track, "Instant Weight Loss" follows and supposedly colours the fact that sex is good exercise.

    A mellow, synth-driven number, the song is rather lyrically forgettable in comparison to the next track, "Tarzan and Jane".



    (above: live in 2008)

    "Tarzan in Jane" is one of my personal favourites from this album.

    The song is an illustration of an angst-ridden classroom brawl between students that eventually requires policemen, the media, and ultimately, weekend detention for their deplorable behavior.

    Comparing in terms of silliness, "Tarzan and Jane" pales in the shadow of "The Decline and Fall of Me", the tragic tale of a protagonist's life's decline.

    A few of my personal favourites from the song:

    Side B's conclusion was featured in the film "Valley Girl". Wrapping up "Angst In My Pants" is "Eaten By the Monster of Love".

    Here's the clip from the movie:



    "Eaten By the Monster of Love" is an ode to forever being exempt from falling in love; according to the lyrics "it ain't a pretty thing to see the way it leaves 'em - it chews them up and spits out creatures with these goo-goo-ey eyes, sick, sickly smiles . . ."

    "Angst In My Pants" is simply an incredibly fun record to put on when you need your smile for the day. It's an overdose of ostentatious ridiculousness, but everyone who loves the 80s should take a listen or two to this album.
     
  3. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    I am impressed Lady,,,:clap:

    You did a first class job on this album, I might even put it on my ever growing shopping list after reading your enthusiastic write up.

    :cheers:
     
  4. ladyislingering

    ladyislingering retired

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    Fantastic. And thank you! That was my intention.

    The best thing about this album is that if someone pisses you off, you can put it on and piss them off right back, and without a doubt you'll be feeling better in no time. :D
     

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