Sparks of Love
The fact that Sparks is one of the greatest pop bands of all time is not up for debate, nor is it the focus of this letter. If it were, I'd write about their constant reinvention, the fact that they've put out a banger album almost every year since the early 1970s, their musical arrangements, their live performances, or Russel's ability to deliver Ron's lyrics.
Actually, I am here to write about Ron's lyrics.
2020's A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip is a phenomenal album that opens with the soaring All That, a standout track and a straightforward love song with lines like “I'm with you ‘til God says it's time to go” and “Each street we walk on’s Les Champs-Elysées”.
It's a retrospective, a look back. “All that we've done ... All that we've seen.” and it's quite lovely.
And then in the middle of the song, there's this couplet:
I can't believe my luck in meeting you Hey, help me out, I can't find my left shoe
It's jarring, what appears to be a non-sequitur, a rhyme just to be silly. (And Sparks has more than their fair share of silly songs.) It sticks out all the more because of the directness and sincerity of the rest of the song.
But on reflection, I think this line is written and delivered in earnest. In two lines it perfectly describes the entire course of a long companionship. Beginning with a lucky, chance meeting, and then maturing into a state of support, comfort, and reliability. There is nothing more mundane and profound as a shared life, walking the most beautiful avenue in the world, and looking for missing shoes together.
So while the couplet at first seems out of place, I actually think it makes the entire song, while remaining superficially humorous.
And that's why Ron Mael is a genius, and Sparks is one the greatest pop bands of all time.