by Madeline Bocaro
© Madeline Bocaro, 2023. No part of this site may be reproduced or re-blogged in whole or in part, in any manner without permission of the copyright owner.
SPARKS ARE BACK! This time – they never went away. Ron and Russell Mael have packed more in to the past five years than ever. Two albums, a musical film (Annette), a wonderful Edgar Wright documentary about them (The Sparks Brothers), another upcoming musical and an imminent worldwide tour. At last, Sparks fans are truly in heaven! Now, we are crying tears of joy!
This is the first song and video released from the upcoming Sparks album (their 26th). ‘The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte’ with its seven-word title is unmistakably a Sparks song, although it is not their longest title by far!
The simple, repetitive lyrics of the three-minute song are also classic Sparks (although they have also been famous for much wordier, brilliant tongue-twisting lyrics in the past).
Crying in our latte is obviously a First World problem.
The line, “So many people are crying in their latte’ is a very sad social commentary. No matter our social strata, we all feel the same pain. However, the Mael brothers highlight this underlying social crisis by putting a slick, sizzling, sputtering synth twist on it.
If Ron had written this in the 70s, we might have had verses about people crying in their Tang, Diet Coke, Tab, Fanta or various other drinks, and especially a verse about crying in our “Kool Aid” (as some of us still seem to be doing). But here, the lyrics are more austere.
Alongside the repetitive one-note guitar part, there is a keyboard bit which is Sparks’ deranged take on a hypnotic Manzarek solo by The Doors. In some innovative sections, Russell’s voice plays the bass part.
Cate Blanchett is placed in the video (wearing a bright yellow Stella McCartney suit) against a pure white panorama. Cate’s punch of colorful pop visuals contrasting with the Maels (dressed all in black) fit the song perfectly. Russell, in a sweatshirt bearing the word Beurre (Butter in French) is eternally hip as he delivers his vocal. The color pop of his red sneakers matches Cate’s headphones. There is no instrument, nor microphone visible in this mini stage-play.
Ron is merely a customer in his own video, tapping his Starbucks cup on the table and raging (in his own inimitable impassive way) by rhythmically cleaning up his spill, wiping the sweat from his brow and brazenly throwing his paper towel on the floor.
Cate’s erratic cool and quirky dance is hypnotic to watch – mixing 1960s dances like The Swim with Kung-fu moves and frenetic 80s twitching. I wonder if Ron will replicate her dance during the upcoming concerts!!
The tagline of Wright’s Sparks documentary is, “Your favorite band’s favorite band.” This is undeniably still true, and we can’t wait for the new album!!
WATCH the video here:
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