Want List: Sparks Release DLX RMs Of Their Dazzling 21st Century Canon

Seven Sparks For All…

We just got the email from the Sparks mailing list today with the great news that the first three of Sparks 21st Century reissue program has begun today with the first three of the seven titles out today with well curated bonus tracks available as a lure for those who have had them all along. We have all but two of these albums, and one of them is so scarce on the CD [and LP] formats that I will most certainly be buying that one. But I could be persuaded to drop shekels on any of these delights, if we consider the materials added to the programs. Let’s look!

BMG | EU | CD | 2022 | BMGCAT550CD

Sparks: Balls DLX RM – UK – CD [2022]

  1. Balls
  2. More Than A Sex Machine
  3. Scheherazade
  4. Aeroflot
  5. The Calm Before The Storm
  6. How To Get Your Ass Kicked
  7. Bullet Train
  8. It’s A Knockoff
  9. Irreplaceable
  10. It’s Educational
  11. The Angels

CD Bonus Tracks:

  1. It’s A Sparks Show
  2. The Calm Before the Opera
  3. The Angels (Sparks Alternative Version)
  4. More Than a Sex Machine (Sparks Definitive Version) (Radio Edit)
  5. The Angels (Tony Visconti Version)
  6. The Oblongs
  7. A Cute Candidate Opening Theme
  8. The Race for President

I’ve always loved this album, and bought it on release in 1999 in the red cover. Now it’s got seven bonus tracks to fill it to the gills with stuff. The song they wrote to open their “Balls” tour that was only played live. A few alternate mixes, and most importantly, the songs from a 1999 CD single they self-released that goes for nearly three figures. I’m guessing that few Sparks fans actually have the CD-5 of “In Entertainment We Trust [Music From the Motion Picture ‘A Cute Candidate’]?” I know it’s too rich for my blood.

BMG | EU | CD | 2022 | BMGCAT551CD

Sparks: Lil’ Beethoven DLX RM – EU – CD [2022]

  1. The Rhythm Thief
  2. How Do I Get To Carnegie Hall?
  3. What Are All These Bands So Angry About?
  4. I Married Myself
  5. Ride ‘Em Cowboy
  6. My Baby’s Taking Me Home
  7. Your Call’s Very Important To Us. Please Hold.
  8. Ugly Guys With Beautiful Girls
  9. Suburban Homeboy

CD Bonus Tracks:

  1. The Legend Of Lil’ Beethoven
  2. Wunderbar (Concerto In Koch Minor)
  3. Kakadu
  4. Suburban Homeboy (Extended Ron Speaks Version)
  5. The Rhythm Thief (Instrumental Version)

This album stunned in 2002. It still stuns today, though we have perhaps become normalized to its audacity and reach. The DLX edition of the 2002 CD had three bonus tracks. All available here, without crossing the $50 mark, for a change! Then two extra tracks from the concurrent time period also manifested. “Kakadu” I’d never heard of, but it’s from a German conceptual album from 2001 where various artists were given one word, and one sound, to create a composition from. In Sparks’ case, the word was “kakadu” and the sound? Paper being cut with scissors. They managed to get 5:18 out of it and I’m curious.

sparks - hello young lovers remaster
BMG | EU | CD | 2022 | BMGCAT552CD

Sparks: Hello Young Lovers DLX RM – EU – CD [2022]

  1. Dick Around
  2. Perfume
  3. The Very Next Fight
  4. (Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country
  5. Rock, Rock, Rock
  6. Metaphor
  7. Waterproof
  8. Here Kitty
  9. There’s No Such Thing as Aliens
  10. As I Sit Down to Play the Organ at the Notre Dame Cathedral

CD Bonus Tracks:

  1. We Are The Clash
  2. (Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country (Alternative Lyrics)

As much as I am impressed by “Lil’ Beethoven,” the band’s next opus was even more thrilling. Have Sparks written a better song than “Dick Around?” [a rhetorical question, I know!] This time the bonus tracks are modest. A B-side and the track they recorded for an Uncut cover mount CD of Clash cover songs. They perversely picked a song from “Cut The Crap!”

sparks - exotic creatures of the deep remaster
BMG | EU | CD | 2022 | BMGCAT553CD

Sparks: Exotic Creatures of The Deep DLX RM – EU – CD [2022]

  1. Intro
  2. Good Morning
  3. Strange Animal
  4. I Can’t Believe That You Would Fall for All the Crap in This Song
  5. Let the Monkey Drive
  6. Intro Reprise
  7. I’ve Never Been High
  8. (She Got Me) Pregnant
  9. Lighten Up, Morrissey
  10. This Is the Renaissance
  11. The Director Never Yelled ‘Cut’
  12. Photoshop
  13. Likeable

CD Bonus Tracks:

  1. Brenda is Always in the Way
  2. Islington N1
  3. Mr. Hulot
  4. I Am A Bookworm
  5. Where Would We Be Without Books

sparks islington N1Sparks produced their third album of their “Lil’ Beethoven” trilogy in 2008, and the capped its release with a mind-melting residency in the UK where they played an album a night with every song they ever recorded on an album played in full! The location of this event? Islington, N1, the bonus CD single given to those who bought tickets for each show in the residency. The CD exchanges hands for three figures, but the song is yours now for a pittance! “Brenda Is Always In The Way” was previously a bonus track on the LP version of the album , and ‘Mr. Hulot” was a B-side to the “Two Hands, One Mouth” pic disc single. The book oriented songs were recorded for KCRW-FM’s “Bookworm” literary radio program.

sparks the seduction of ingmar bergman
BMG | EU | CD | 2022 | BMGCAT572CD

Sparks: The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman – EU – CD [2022]

  1. 1956 Cannes Film Festival
  2. “I Am Ingmar Bergman”
  3. Limo Driver (Welcome To Hollywood)
  4. “Here He Is Now”
  5. “Mr. Bergman, How Are You?”
  6. “He’ll Come ‘Round”
  7. En Route To The Beverly Hills Hotel
  8. Hollywood Welcoming Committee
  9. “I’ve Got To Contact Sweden”
  10. The Studio Commissary
  11. “I Must Not Be Hasty”
  12. “Quiet On The Set”
  13. “Why Do You Take That Tone With Me?”
  14. Pleasant Hotel Staff
  15. Hollywood Tour Bus
  16. Autograph Hounds
  17. Bergman Ponders Escape
  18. “We’ve Got To Turn Him ‘Round”
  19. Escape (Part 1)
  20. Escape (Part 2)
  21. “Oh My God”
  22. Garbo Sings
  23. Almost A Hollywood Ending
  24. “He’s Home”

And finally, the last recent Sparks album to get the love has no bonus tracks at all, but it is the one I will actually pre-order first next week, because when “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” appeared in 2009 as a radio play commissioned by Swedish Radio, it could be bought on CD as part of a deluxe 4xLP/CD box [currently $315 on discogs] or as a Swedish Language CD released only in Sweden, [recently $50-70 on Discogs]. The only time I saw a copy was in Wuxtry Athens at the time of release as an LP [currently $145 on Discogs] which I didn’t want to buy. I wanted a CD!

In 2011, Sparks performed the radio play at the L.A. Film Festival and produced a ltd. ed. CD for the Festival. Sold only from their web store. Currently sitting at $349 in Discogs! So do I want to buy it for $14 + shipping from the UK? Whatever the shipping costs turn out to be, it will be a bargain to finally have just this album on CD and no LPs of it. In English. For <$50, so, huzzah!

That’s definitely one CD I am ordering and I wouldn’t look askance at any of the others crossing the threshold of my Record Cell. That’s a full Cd worth of bonus material that would cost much more to track down in the nooks and crannies than to simply re-buy on this series of discs. The Sparks Webstore is mostly sold out of many of these [they came in many different format bundles that may be gone now] but the first three are out today at other retailers as well with the last two being available on May27th and still in the Sparks webstore allotment. Budget accordingly!

post-punk monk buy button

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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15 Responses to Want List: Sparks Release DLX RMs Of Their Dazzling 21st Century Canon

  1. critterjams says:

    so glad to get Lil Beethoven and Hello Young Lovers on vinyl. I actually have the latter in its 1xLP format (worth a fortune, for some reason!!) and the new one is a definite improvement. idk if that’s the remastering or the fact that, y’know, they’re not putting 50+ minutes of music on a single album. while listening to it I came to the conclusion that “Here Kitty” is one of their very best songs. it’s gonna be in my head until I lose it for good.

    Like

  2. JT says:

    >They perversely picked a song from “Cut The Crap!”

    Perverse indeed, but not so surprising given Sparks’ sense of humor. For a band other than The Clash to sing a song called “We Are The Clash” is a very very Sparks thing to do.

    *Ceci n’est pas Le Clash*!

    Like

  3. Dave Turner says:

    I’ll be buying them all on CD. But likewise, “The Seduction Of Ingmar Bergman” is top of the list. Can’t wait to finally hear this one. And I am one of the few who does have “In Entertainment We Trust [Music From the Motion Picture ‘A Cute Candidate]’. Great cartoon on that too (not on the reissue).

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Dave Turner – So I’m not the only one who’s had trouble scoring a normally priced CD here! I didn’t know what to think when I saw the “Cute Candidate” release in Discogs some years back. Vintage cartoon? Faux vintage cartoon? None/all of the above?

      Like

  4. I need all of these. I’m pretty sure I had a copy of Lil’ Beethoven on CD at one time, but I think it was among the trove that got stolen after a radio show back in … ’94 maybe? For reasons that escape me, I always enjoyed the Sparks music I heard, but only occasionally bought their albums … a grave mistake I am delighted to rectify with these 20th and 21st century reissues!

    I am particularly pleased to see items that would have been out-of-reach being made available to veteran and new fans of the band at fairly reasonable prices. Who knows how long the Sparks party can keep going, but the utterly extraordinary success the brothers Mael have had over the last few years (including two of the most awful non-war years in modern history) makes this the perfect time for the kind of appreciation and acclaim artists often receive only after they’re dead. Their new success and new popularity are one of the few bright lights of this so-far hellacious decade.

    I love their music, but I am loving eve more that they kept at it long enough to become bona fide rock legends, and are getting their due while they can enjoy, participate in, and even capitalise on it. Couldn’t have happened to two nicer guys!

    Like

  5. WANT!!

    If anyone knows a good online CD shop *in Canada,* please let me know!

    Like

  6. Update: located a dealer in Canada for Balls, Lil’ Beethoven (which I have owned previously but don’t have anymore) and HYL, and then went to the Sparks site to grab ECotD and SofIB (plus the pin set). The latter was kinda pricey because of currency/shipping, but I’m soon to be rich … in SPARKS!

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  7. alonewithstrangers says:

    Look at it this way: how could anyone in their right mind NOT want this batch of – 30 years into their careers – defining set of albums? I can’t think of another band anywhere that has been able to pull off this kind of feat. Let’s hope their new found popularity now enables another set of ‘further-career-defining records’ because they deserve it.

    And let’s not forget that ‘Annette’ is a f*cking awful film.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      alonewithstrangers – Total agreement on the unnatural vitality of Sparks. I’ve not been able to see “Annette” yet so I’ll withold judgement, though I did turn off the prior Carax film [“Holy Motors”] before it was over.

      Like

      • alonewithstrangers says:

        Oh yeah – that was pretty bad too but at least our dog didn’t bark at the TV all the way through it, as she did with ‘Annette’

        Like

    • It’s a dark, disturbing, and very FRENCH movie, and definitely should never be used as an introduction to Sparks, but … both the film and the soundtrack did very well on the art-house circuit.

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      • alonewithstrangers says:

        Yes it’s very ‘French’ but I’m used to that (part French). I’m also used to the genres used across the film but the overwhelming feeling is NYC arthouse and poorly executed at that, especially the stand up scenes. The music is fine albeit not in their usual league but still better than most other bands out there. I suspect the awards on the art circuit were more style than substance and I don’t think that, say, five years’ time anyone other than devout fans will look back at the film with fond memories. IMHO – and I am a pretty big fan of the band.

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