Sunday, March 25, 2012

Exotic Creatures Of The Deep - The Ultimate Sparks Album?

Exotic Creatures Of The Deep (ECOTD) is an album by Sparks from 2008.  This is not a typical pop album. First, it is a Sparks album, which pretty much ensures a challenging and rewarding musical experience. Still, in its depth, narrative, creativity, coherence, and execution, this album surpasses even the high standards usually associated with Sparks. One expects quality and thoughtfulness; I doubt anyone could have expected this.

In a nutshell, this album is a brilliant, conceptual masterpiece, a vision realized. And very witty! That's what this post is about.

From the first time I heard the album, I listened with unusually rapt attention.  The songs all seemed to fit together but I couldn’t figure out how. I listened over a dozen times straight through, trying to understand this album.  Only a couple of th songs, on their own, are true standouts.  Yet the album is so much more than the sum of its parts...Why? What were Sparks, aka keyboard player Ronald Mael and his brother, singer Russell Mael, getting at?

Then, like a thunderbolt, it hit me. I had the epiphany; it all came together.

ECOTD is not simply a collection of songs that kind of go together; it is a fully realized epic drama of operatic proportions.  It is a tale of one man’s odyssey to attain acceptance from others – a lesson which cannot come until he learns, perhaps grudgingly, to accept himself for who he is.