01 February 2008

Something 4 The Weekend # 55

Sparks had two of their songs featured prominently in the 1983 teen Rom-Com Valley Girl, a re-telling of Romeo & Juliet featuring, ayup, a girl from "the Valley", and a punk rock dude from Hollywood, as portrayed by a 19-year-old Nicolas Cage in only his second feature film role (the first being 1982's Fast Times At Ridgemont High)...Ah, the young Nic Cage - before the hair plugs, botox and bacon double cheeseburgers...Ahhh, the undeniably cute Deborah Foreman, as Julie the titular Valley Girl...The ridiculously cute Deborah Foreman, who went on to have a rather meager career in cheap B-movies and TV, although her filmography does include an episode of MacGyver and a movie called Lobster Man From Mars.
As is often the case with soundtracks, only one of those two Sparks songs from the film actually made it onto the official Valley Girl soundtrack, a practice that I believe first became prevalent around that time, as more and more films favored song-heavy soundtracks to bonafide scores...
For example, I would guess that there are at least 35-40 songs used in Fast Times At Ridgemont High (speaking of), but even as a double-vinyl LP, the soundtrack probably only included half of those songs...
Anyways, in regards to Sparks and Valley Girl, the song "Angst In My Pants" made it onto the soundtrack, but their song "Eaten By The Monster Of Love" did not, even thought it was used in at least two, and possibly three, distinct scenes in the actual film.
Rhino remedied this situation in 1995, when they released a second Valley Girl soundtrack collection, featuring another 16 songs used in the film (bringing the total to 31 songs), but this CD had a limited pressing and went out of print almost immediately. Copies nowadays sell in the $25-40 range, which is so totally not worth it. Bag that pricetag. I'm sure.
Supposedly the film was inspired by the song "Valley Girl" by Frank Zappa, featuring his daughter Moon Unit doing her best valley girl impersonation over a noodly rock song, which I think is worth mentioning because as a musical entity, Sparks are musical and philosophical brethren to Zappa. Musically, they were constantly exploring different styles and genres, and have enjoyed a solid 40 year career (so far) by skirting the edge of mainstream popularity with deceptively sophisticated music of every stripe. Philosophically, their lyrics analyzed and satirized pop culture, teen angst, and dealt heavily with sex. In a winking, funny way, of course. Like Zappa, they were/are cultural and musical anthropologists.
I can't say that I absolutely adore Sparks, but I do like them an awful lot, usually in album-sized chunks, and I certainly respect their style, wit, and longevity.

Hotcha! Hank

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

surprising how that sparks tune sounds like a Roughly Enforcing Nostalgia song...or is it the cheap beer that's fockin' with my hammer and anvil? yarp~

February 09, 2008 12:12 PM  

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