on 30 May 2014
I've always had a mixed relationship with the music of Sparks, not quite 'into' them enough to call myself a dedicated fan, although I loved their two best known singles from the late seventies, I never invested my money in any of their albums until Gratuitous Sax when Simon Mayo plugged it to death on his Radio One Breakfast Show. It was the beginning of a new era for Sparks, and I've pretty much been onboard ever since then. My next purchase was Plagiarism, so most of the songs on this album of reinvented old material were the first time that I'd ever heard them, and right up until the release of this compilation i'm reviewing here, they were still the only time I'd ever heard them. So to hear those 'plagiarised' songs in their original format came as a very pleasant surprise to me when I discovered that the original versions sounded a lot better than the newer versions. I have to say that the whole two cd's have exceeded my expectations. Although I really like a lot of Sparks' material, I also find a lot of it, well..... boring! (sorry that's my personal opinion) I do lean more towards the rock genre, so the 'pop' aspect of Sparks (especially the earlier stuff) doesn't appeal to me as much. But I'm so glad I bought this compilation as there is not a single track on there that I don't like, even the more 'pop' oriented tracks have elements of rock enough to keep me interested, and many of the earlier period songs on here are pure rock. It really goes to show how diverse their music is, covering a wide range of genres (pop, rock, orchestral etc), there really is something for everyone to enjoy on these two cd's. I highly recommend it. I just edited to add that I was a bit disappointed with the sleeve notes. I thought a career spanning 40 years would have been worthy of something a bit more special than the 6 page booklet included in the sleeve.
on 1 January 2015
A stunning double CD trawl through the first 21 album releases of the Mael Brothers with some unexpected songs thrown in.
If you like you're pop music quirky, intelligent, left field and frequently hilarious, Sparks are the band for you.
They don't sound like anyone else but you can see their influence in at least 20 imitation bands that followed in their wake.
A definite, undisputed, five star greatest hits and then some collection from two underrated geniuses.
Stunning and Superb.
on 2 December 2013
There are a few compilations of the Mael brothers' work on the market but none has ever seemed to have tried too hard to cover their entire career, seemingly focussing either on the early 70's glam-inspired era or the later more electronic pop excursions. This one covers both of these eras extensively, also adding the best stuff from their patchy 80's phase, 90's rebirth and what I believe to be their most exciting and entertaining work in the last 10 years or so.
It's a gripping journey which can seem quite overwhelming in it's scope and variety but it's all inescapably Sparks. Listen to the brief title track from 1974's "Propaganda" and then 2006's "Dick Around" and they could be off the same album.
There isn't a bad track on here - thoroughly recommended!
on 25 August 2014
As another reviewer states,this could have been a triple cd . However this double cd has 40 songs spanning the Mael bros career,and in my opinion there are only 2 songs that I am not keen on . Some of the songs here were new to me,a long standing Sparks fan. Anybody needing an introduction to Sparks and is considering a compilation should get THIS one,as it's comprehensive and omits a few of the singles which in my opinion were a little irritating. Clearly the songs included here have been wisely chosen !