Sparks: No. 1 In Heaven DLX RM EURO CD 
- Tryouts For The Human Race – 6:06
- Academy Award Performance – 4:59
- La Dolce Vita – 5:52
- Beat The Clock – 4:22
- My Other Voice – 4:53
- The Number One Song In Heaven – 7:26
- Tryouts For The Human Race (Single Version) – 3:17
- La Dolce Vita (Single Version) – 3:48
- Beat The Clock (Single Version) – 3:46
- The Number One Song In Heaven (Single Version) – 3:53
- Beat The Clock (Canadian Single Version) – 4:21
- Tryouts For The Human Race (Extended Version) – 7:56
- La Dolce Vita (Extended Version) – 5:57
- Beat The Clock (Extended Version) – 6:40
- Tryouts For The Human Race (12 Inch Short Version) – 3:58
I am a lame-o. I first heard Sparks in 1981 [“Tips For Teens”] and took an immediate shine to them…while not actually buying any of their records. Why this did not happen is a matter of self-conjecture. Was it because they were American? Maybe I figured “how good could they be, after all?” Their long-standing critical buzz possibly triggered my BS detector. I should have been a huge fan from point zero, but alas, this did not happen.
In 1990, a slightly older, wiser friend gave me a mix tape of Sparks when she found out I did not own their entire oeuvre. Called “Young + Vital Sparks” it should have been the catalyst that pushed me over the edge into immediate fandom, but never underestimate the parsimonious ways of This Monk. Instead, I waited until I saw a used Sparks CD in the used bins of Tampa’s Vinyl Fever some time in 1993 during a record show trip. It was 1988’s iffy “Interior Design” album at a then low price of $4.99. Not a terrible record, but not a great one, either.
I next got a copy of Sparks “No. 1 In Heaven” on the Elektra LP some time later when another friend bought it for me at a flea market or antique mall. Thoughtful, but it really remained until another friend bought a copy of Sparks 1997 album “Plagiarism” under the misconception that it was a greatest hits album and disappointedly gave it to us, that we finally got infected with Sparks fever. Even then, it was less than a full-blown infection. I bought every Sparks album on CD taking in their 1986-current discography at a less than swift velocity.
I bought their newest albums concurrently, usually in the year of release. Often at full price! Such was my growing ardor. This brings us to today where it’s nice to own all Sparks albums from 1986-2017, except “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” which remains criminally difficult to purchase on CD for less than a kings ransom. However, barring a copy of “Kimono My House,” nothing recorded by them prior to 1986 was on a shiny silver disc in my Record Cell. Then a week or so ago my Discogs feed listed two Sparks DLX RMs packed with bonus tracks, so I put them in my cart, and when I did, the helpful cart showed me that the dealer had another Sparks CDs that I had not yet even put on my want list also available! All were packed with bonus tracks and priced to buy at a rare moment when I had the cash to do so. I received “No. 1 In Heaven,” “Angst In My Pants,” and “Sparks In Outer Space” in one fell swoop; besting even the day when I ordered “Hello Young Lovers” and “Exotic Creatures Of The Deep” on the same day! Needless to say, I fell deep into the Sparks rabbit hole, and this in the hours before the next Sparks opus, “Hippopotamus” is due for our ears on this Friday.
Next: …Enough back pedaling, how about the review?