Whomp That Sucker - Sparks

Sparks : Whomp That Sucker (Why-Fi Records) 1981 :-

It is around this time that things began to fall apart for Sparks, both creatively and commercially.

It was 1981. Ron and Russell Mael hooked up with three piece L.A. rock band
'Bates Motel' and returned to Giorgio Moroder's Musicland studios to record 'Whomp That Sucker'.  The album was fervently ignored by the record buying public, as were the two singles from the album, 'Tips For Teens' and 'Funny Face'

The album's cover was shot at a gym in Los Angeles.  The brothers also flew to London to do a promotion at the Hilton Hotel for the release of the album where they actually did fight each other in a five round bout.  They had several weeks of intense training at a seedy South London gym by a well known English boxer.

Check out 'Tips For Teens'

Sparks' earlier two LPs were experimental albums, making use of new, synthesizer-based technology.  With 'Whomp That Sucker', Ron and Russ decided to return to their 'rock' roots.  Guitars were re-introduced into the equation, and the Maels opted for a lightweight 'fun' kind of sound. 'Whomp That Sucker' is upbeat and tongue-in-cheek, and peppered with cartoonish noises and wacky special effects.

'Whomp That Sucker' lacks the appeal and creativity of  Sparks' earlier rock albums.  Frequently crossing the thin line between 'parody' and 'banality' , the album actually sounds like a novelty album in places.  The tunes are far too simple and catchy, and the lyrics are often cringe-worthingly bad. It is hard to believe that Ron Mael was now writing rubbish, infantile lines like "Don't eat that ice cream, is it vanilla, give it to me. Don't eat that pastry, what's in the middle, give it to me" or "We know what you got, boy, what you got, what you got, what you got.  They call it the Willys.  They call it the Willys ". Shocking!  The songs sound like glorified nursery rhymes and are more suited to a children's playground than a recording studio.

As if annoyingly stupid melodies and dumbed-down lyrics aren't enough, the backing band
'Bates Motel' lack bite or personality, and the music ends up sounding thin and lightweight.  It is difficult to believe that only a few years earlier Sparks had been creating consistently groundbreaking and inspirational material.


Single Funny Face

Sparks review
WHOMP THAT SUCKER BY SPARKS (WHY-FI RECORDS) - Tips For Teens, Funny Face, Where's My Girl?, Upstairs, I Married A Martian, The Willys, Don't Shoot Me, Suzie Safety, That's Not Nastassia, Wacky Women

Sparks : Whomp That Sucker