My Top 10 Albums: #10 – Sparks – Angst In My Pants

This post is part of a ten-part series showcasing my top 10 albums. Certain obvious legends (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, etc.) are not in the list, these are albums not everyone knows or picks.

The first album in my top 10 counting down to number one is Sparks – Angst In My Pants. My first encounter with Sparks was on SNL, when they performed “I Predict” and “Mickey Mouse” from this set. It clicked with me immediately. Russell’s vocal was what I considered new wave, and the chugs of guitar and simplicity of it all sealed the deal. Ronald was very odd in stance and expression and the timing was perfect. I bought the album soon afterward.

Sparks on SNL 1982

Listening to the album, I found extremely clever lyrics, funny but not too stupid; concise and efficient. The imagery is rich, especially on tracks like “Nicotina”, where you see the life cycle of a cigarette from the cigarette’s perspective. “Instant Weight Loss” is another standout, about a guy that loses a ton of weight in a sexual relationship and he’s fat again when the relationship ends. Any subject is fair game, including Ron’s moustache:

I tried a handlebar design
My Fu Manchu was real fine
My Ronald Colman made ’em blink
My Pancho Villa made ’em think
But when I trimmed ’em real small
My Jewish friends would never call

Musically, it’s a nearly perfect pop record – the title track and “Eaten By The Monster of Love” wound up in the Valley Girl soundtrack, a movie soundtrack that was elusive to purchase throughout the 80s.

1.“Angst in My Pants”3:25
2.I Predict2:50
3.“Sextown U.S.A.”2:56
4.“Sherlock Holmes”3:34
6.“Mickey Mouse”3:16
8.“Instant Weight Loss”3:27
9.“Tarzan and Jane”3:18
10.“The Decline and Fall of Me”2:53
11.“Eaten by the Monster of Love”2:58

The single “I Predict” became Sparks’ first entry on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #60 in May 1982.

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