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What do we really think about Lil' Beethoven?!
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What do we really think about Lil' Beethoven?!
It's a masterpiece man!
65%
 65%  [ 76 ]
It's not a masterpiece! But above average!
18%
 18%  [ 22 ]
It's OK, but they have done better...
8%
 8%  [ 10 ]
I don't get this sort of stuff!
1%
 1%  [ 2 ]
Ron & Russell! Lil' Beethoven was crap! Pure craaap!!
5%
 5%  [ 6 ]
Total Votes : 116

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Sparky Rickmaniac
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Joined: 21 Jan 2009
Posts: 4503
Location: Edge of the rhubarb triangle

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Above average, I'm with Pim Derks, HYL IS a masterpiece.
Having said that I wasn't averse to hearing The Rhythm Thief, I Married Myself, My Baby's taking Me Home and Surbuban Homeboy live last week
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allydodd
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Joined: 12 Dec 2004
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Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its a masterpiece of recording but a complete challenge to the listener. Bewilderingly difficult and frustrating to listen to, this postmodernist work is. Its one of the most bold, concept albums I've ever heard. If the CD was triangular it could not be more different or original. It also holds up a mirror to Western Society and with irony show much of the ugliness behind the gloss. Although I rate it highly, I can sympathise with those who don't like it. I loved the tour, and learned to love the album. Undeservingly, its not in my top five, ten, fifteen or even twenty favourite Sparks albums. For me, it was a kind of stepping stone against the current, which lead to (the best album of all time by anyone) Hello Young Lovers.
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deadcalm
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Joined: 26 Feb 2004
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Location: Kidderminster West Mids UK

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive yet to Hear anything anywhere better than My Baby's Taking me Home live.. that already enough for me,,,,
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PETER RAWCLIFFE
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Joined: 23 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Works better live,saw it at the royal festival hall and it was amazing but not something i play at home strangely.some great moments though and `My baby`s taking me home` is a great song.
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electric elver
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Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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Location: Yorks, England

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perusing this thread again as I have time to kill (not sure this day will ever end). Always fascinating to have further evidence of how impossibly subjective music is.
Difficult and challenging? I lapped it up. Firstly I confess I'm one of the people who can find remorseless, even bludgeoning repetition hypnotic and completely compelling. The album is both brutal and almost unbearably melancholy, and how I love the way the meaning of such simple phrases changes with the shifts in chords behind them. I love the album's cold, jeering bitterness (to which its creators are richly entitled), and adore 'UGWBG', Russell pushing that spun-silver voice way beyond its natural legato to the point of hoarse broken ugliness. I love the barely suppressed rage which peaks and drops throughout L'il B, jittering like the steaming lid of a pressure cooker!
Rightly or wrongly, I rate courage the most highly of the so-called virtues, and to my ears and heart, LB crystallises courage on every level. It's playing as I tap this out. Ah, and what about the jolly, but sometimes inexplicably tear-jerking 'Suburban Homeboy'? One word: RESPECT.
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dinky
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Joined: 26 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read and hear of the genius of 'My Baby's Taking Me Home', that the title is repeated so much that by the end of the song it means something totally different to the beginning.

Can someone explain how ? Or their interpretation of how ?
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freeke
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Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Posts: 394
Location: Turku, Finland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, much like N1IH and GratSax, it pulled Sparks out of the wilderness. More importantly, it put the passion back in the singing and the playing. First impressions, a pleasant shock and a difficult listening experience( still is). Itīs more even than Hello Young Lovers, although I tend to play HYL more often nowadays.
It set the tone for HYL, Exotic Creatures and The Seduction, all with inspired moments. LilB has an organic quality which they lost a bit on the last 2 albums. As the 21/21 extravaganza proved, the songwriting has been pretty even throughout the years. IMO itīs mainly the quality of the delivery thatīs the problem on the "lesser" albums. LilB delivers!!!!
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Angus_Desire
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Joined: 06 Oct 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LB ushered in the next phase of Sparks' musical career after they'd shut the door on the electronic music with the "Balls" album.

This album brought back some hooks, experimentation and a sense of simplicity.

Best songs: "Ugly Boys With Beautiful Girls", "My Baby's Taking Me Home", "I Married Myself" and "Suburban Homeboy".
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Ian Hampton
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Joined: 13 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, it was the finest moment in their career.
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PETER RAWCLIFFE
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Joined: 23 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ian Hampton wrote:
To me, it was the finest moment in their career.


cant agree with that Ian,nearly impossible to say what is "their" finest moment as there has been so many changes in direction and great highs and lows..Kimono My House and the Number One Song In Heaven albums are massive highs in a great career and the comeback of Gratuitous sax is in my opinion light years ahead of Lil beethoven.
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Spyke
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Ian Hampton. Best of all was seeing Lil B performed live before the album came out - it all sounded so fresh and new, and still does. While for me, Lil B has been their highest career peak, it's notable that they've had several career peaks for us to choose from - Kimono, Number 1, Gratuitous Sax. How many other bands can boast of so many successful changes in direction?
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electric elver
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dinky wrote:
I read and hear of the genius of 'My Baby's Taking Me Home', that the title is repeated so much that by the end of the song it means something totally different to the beginning.

Can someone explain how ? Or their interpretation of how ?


Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this; am naturally resistant to cutting open the golden goose and going through the giblets, but on odd occasions it can be telling. So...
...while not actually listening to this at time of typing, I think the changes in meaning I perceive are less driven by a minor chord change than by the changes in vocal texture, and the way a simple descending vocal melody can inevitably imply resignation, regret and reluctance. Initially, all is assured serentity, and when additional vocal tracks are added, this swells to near-exultation: surely someone's leaving for the night with an absolute definitive cartoon of desirability on his arm! This sense persists despite the odd intermittent muffling of an already distorted voice, followed by repetition of the fragment "...taking me", which might set off half-conscious unease about the narrator's volition...
Then, just as the singing voice becomes vulnerable, intimate and completely human, the spoken section kicks in: weirdly forced and metallic, an excessive, rigid composure hardly suited to the sentiments and reinforcing unease, despite the burgeoning orchestral triumph following. You find yourself wondering about Stockholm Syndrome. Confusion and tension are further aggravated for me by the lyrical reference to colour-blindness; however acute the hearing, the world has long since surrendered three dimensions.
By this point, the repetition technique is doing its work: did you ever,
as a child, repeat a name, maybe your own, until it lost all meaning and identity? It can be quite weird and frightening. And how easily a concept as fundamental as "home" can similarly lose all meaning.
"Is anybody home??"
I think it's useful at this point to refer to Laurie Anderon's famous 'O Superman', in which the equally All-American concept of 'Mom' as unquestionable harbour of benevolence / security is subverted by the last stanza in which her embrace has become "electronic", automated, as is the vocal, split, filtered and dehumanised throughout by the vocoder. I'm not sure Sparks are either interested in, or willing to inhabit, those bleak levels of desolation, but here - and throughout LB as a whole - they're nodding towards them.
'Home' and 'Mom' - both shells are ultimately empty.
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GARY JOHN BARRETT
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Joined: 02 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's okay, but they have done better. FACT!

Let's just leave it at that and move on, as Ron and Russell have always done,
to different pastures new.
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electric elver
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Joined: 18 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely. Always ready for that. And, Sir, I didn't start it, Sir, it woz 'im, honest...
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GARY JOHN BARRETT
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a criticism, but apart from a couple of "Albums" ,there have always been good tracks and not so good tracks!
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Murfo
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it is the absolute pinnacle of Sparks' career and one of the major achievements of pop music in general. I've always heard it as 'the first 21st Century album'. This is a phrase a French journalist used about Scott Walker's Tilt and while both enter brave new grounds Sparks do so in a way that is eminently listenable, enjoyable and humorous. I feel it has fantastic pacing, diversity of tone and an overall quality rare for anyone's album, never mind an album so late into their career. A friend of mine contests that the use of synthetic strings lets it down but to me that is part of its brilliance - the marriage of classical music and dance/highbrow and lowbrow/Steve Reich and Underworld. Repetition is used endlessly but it is not repetitive. Its live show had high production values but seemed at the same time to be carried out on a shoestring budget. It for me is something different, the reason I view them as a contemporary rather than archival act. All the other albums - well I love them too, and I can understand why someone might be put off Lil Beethoven but for me the love was instant and total.
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NTUBO-S
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Joined: 02 May 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:24 am    Post subject: NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON SPARKS Reply with quote

I've written it on another thread here before and I want to do it again. As a filmmaker who is also a fan the main reason for trying to make this documentary about Sparks' music through their fans are the 4 last albums. Ron and Russell reinvented themselves reaching again the peaks of Island trilogy (in my opinion). That's (besides of the cult folowing not similar to other bands' fans) is the main justification of making this documentary. They are not nostalgic. They don't recycle their music like other bands who have survived as many years. And that's their greatness.
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SteveBoyce
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Joined: 17 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GARY JOHN BARRETT wrote:
It's okay, but they have done better. FACT!



No, it's an opinion, and it's not mine
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Dog Water
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was blown away by this when it came out . It's definitely a landmark release for them. BUT I found it all got pretty old pretty quick.
The band then built on it and bettered it with subsequent releases. Looking back, I guess it was something of a transitional album. I still love Ugly Guys. I go back to that track a lot. Russell is brilliant on it.
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Pim Derks
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny, Ugly Girls is the only track which doesn't do anything for me :)
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