Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Cool Places" by Sparks and Jane Wiedlin

Song#:  1414
Date:  04/16/1983
Debut:  86
Peak:  49
Weeks:  12
Genre:  New Wave, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  After years of albums that barely notched above a cult-like level, Sparks was beginning to make a dent in the mainstream. Their 1982 album "Angst in My Pants" supplied them with their first Pop chart single, "I Predict" (#60). It set them up well for their next LP "Sparks in Outer Space." For the album's first single, Sparks brought on board Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Go's for this duet. Since The Go-Go's were hugely popular at the time, Wiedlin's name would certainly draw some attention to the single and to Sparks. The ploy worked well with the single getting inside the Top 50 and the album becoming one of their most popular in the US. The song would also be a hit on the Dance chart reaching #13. Success would be short-lived though as both the single and album would be the band's last to appear on the Pop charts.

ReduxReview:  Perhaps like a lot of other people, this was my introduction to Sparks and it came courtesy of Jane Wiedlin. Being a huge fan of The Go-Go's, hearing any project from any band member was a must, so I jumped on this single promptly. It was a worthy purchase. I loved the song and thought the production was excellent. I thought for sure this would get into the Top 40, but it stalled short. Oddly, the song did not make me a big Sparks fan. I liked them (and still do), but the draw for me here was Wiedlin and the song. I love it when this song creeps up on one of my playlists.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  There are varying accounts of how Sparks and Wiedlin got together. What seems to be the most plausible story is that Wiedlin discovered the band as a teenager and loved them so much that she started her own unauthorized local fan club. After The Go-Go's hit it big, she wrote a fan letter to the band that was given directly to Sparks' Russell Mael. He responded back saying that they should collaborate. They did and the results were this song plus another track on the album "Lucky Me, Lucky You." The following year, the Mael brothers returned the favor by co-writing the song "Yes or No" with Wiedlin for The Go-Go's album "Talk Show."


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