Yesterday I had planned on looking back at 2019 but the death of Vaughan Oliver threw a monkey wrench [none dare call it a spanner…] into that plan. And then I have discovered that Sparks have left us with a song for the times as their end of year/xmas download single of 2019. And it is definitely a song for these troubling times. One could easily imagine this one subtitled [a song for Greta Thunberg] and it’s got a title somewhat in line with the casual swearing that has become surprisingly common in Sparks material of late.
Sparks: Please Don’t Fuck Up My World US DL 
- Please Don’t Fuck Up My World
The stately ballad was driven by piano and string patches as Russell carried the plaintive first verse that saw ironic F-bombs dropped with impunity [and subtlety] along the descending chord sequence that painted this song as a cry for help at the end of one’s rope. Except that all of our necks are in that noose that is ever tightening as the planet is roiling in turmoil. His highly subdued vocal here was a far cry from the heights of euphoria that he has most often scaled. But there was no room in this song for that this time. This was a case of Russell speaking for us all, with humility and gravity. Pondering on how we are poor stewards of our planet.
But that was just the first verse. The song’s payload came with the second verse, which was carried by an angelic children’s choir, F-bombs and all, as “all God’s children” pleaded for planetary mercy to the subtle swelling of the music bed. Ron could have added cornets and French horns at that point, but the goal here was to avoid being dismissed as mere kitsch, so I was impressed that he played his musical cards so close to his vest even as the lyrics devastated.
“Please don’t fuck up our world
so much now needs addressing
Please don’t fuck up our world
So much now is depressing“ – ”Please Don’t Fuck Up Our World”
Then, the refrain was once again delivered by Russell Mael in the coda but not before the children got the last word. Which was as it should be as the song began as the plea of the generation preparing to pass into history. But it ended with the newest generation [who have the most to lose] pleading for a future worth having. Leave it to Sparks to deal us a hand dripping with both irony and bald-faced sincerity as this song sounded like the musical sequel to “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth” given an urgently needed protest lyrical thrust that dealt in none of the ambiguities of the older song. Available now on that streaming crap those kids do as well as quaint, old-fashioned download stores for you old-timers. This song is truly the last word in 2019, for better or worse.
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