The Best of Sparks [Repertoire]

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Brothers Ron and Russell Mael have carved out a unique niche in the annals of pop music. Their ambitious brand of deviant candy has always straddled the line between sophistication and sleaze, reveling in its own cleverness while simultaneously infecting the listener with nihilistic bliss. Repertoire's The Best of Sparks, like the title suggests, is a career retrospective of the duo's work, albeit through 1984 -- this little tidbit should have been revealed somewhere on the outside packaging -- and collects 21 songs from their first 15 records. Classics like "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us," "Tips for Teens," and "I Predict" show a band that never left the cusp of creative frenzy. The Best of Sparks is essentially a cropped version of Rhino's excellent two-disc set Profile: The Ultimate Sparks Collection, but while their late-'70s and early-'80s material is remarkable, with over 40 years, 24 albums, and counting, it is hardly definitive.

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