Big Beat

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Most of this album finds Sparks doing what they do best: spewing out clever, mile-a-minute lyrics over solid-rocking accompaniment (this time, provided by a superior group of studio musicians). Drummer Hilly Michaels and guitarist Jeffrey Salen lend the Mael brothers' songs considerable rock & roll authority. Standouts include the opening blast, "Big Boy" (which was featured in the film Rollercoaster), the propulsive "Fill-Er-Up," and the falsetto-delivered proclamation "I Like Girls," apparently a leftover from their previous album, Indiscreet. Generally, however, they eschew the elaborate arrangements of Indiscreet and go for a powerful, stripped-down sound. As titles such as "Everybody's Stupid" and "Thrown Her Away (And Get a New One)" suggest, the album brims with decidedly politically incorrect (and often hilarious) lyrics.

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