Never Heard of 'Em
Never Heard of 'Em: Sparks
Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.
Kimono My House
Kimono My House (assigned to me gleefully by our dear David Schmader) started off on the right foot because it verbed a noun, which this copy editor thinks is funny. I could not, for the life of me, figure from the cover what era it was from.
Do you ever feel unprepared for an artistic experience, like the minute it envelops you, you need to pause it, go prepare for an hour (get dressed up, do a little research, bring a friend), and then get back to it? I used to do that with movies as a teenager—if they got really good, I'd have to go change into a better outfit. I don't know exactly what outfit this album requires, but I definitely feel the need to respect it with total adolescent commitment to the material. It's probably worth an entire costume-change montage, with at least five people, hopefully in front of velvet curtains. Tip: Have lots of wigs on hand. Kimono sounds like a clown opera, and I do not mean Pagliacci. It sounds like a circus worth of clowns on speed wrote an opera based on their dream journals. It's fantastic!
The first track, "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us," sounded familiar to me, which at first I chalked up to the fact that every time it comes on I think it's going to be "Sloop John B" by the Beach Boys. But post-research, I realize it's a super-famous song that surely must have seeped into my brain at some point. "Talent Is an Asset" also really blows my skirt up, and not just because the beginning reminds me of the Duck Tales theme song or because xylophones are funny (both of which are true). Come on, you really wanna clap along to this! Also, all these lyrics are special in the head, and "Talent" is no exception: "Talent is relative/That's hypothetical/We are his relatives/That's parenthetical/Spare your superlatives/There's the receptacle."
Sparks, my research tells me, were a "glam-rock" band from the '70s and beyond, from the States but really big in England, and all your favorite pale attractive singers (Morrissey, Kurt Cobain) loved them, and so does everybody else. Except: No one I mentioned this column to all week had ever heard of them, so something's gone wrong here with my generation.
The only downside to this album is that, after listening to it on repeat for days, I am really, really tired inside my brain.
So, even though I liked it, Kimono gets an "I need a nap" out of 10.