Propaganda (Sparks album)

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Propaganda
Propaganda - Sparks.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 11, 1974
Recorded1974
GenrePop rock,[1] power pop[2]
Length33:41
LabelIsland
ProducerMuff Winwood
Sparks chronology
Kimono My House
(1974)
Propaganda
(1974)
Indiscreet
(1975)
Singles from Propaganda
  1. "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" b/w "Alabamy Right"
    Released: October 1974
  2. "Propaganda/At Home, at Work, at Play" b/w "Marry Me"
    Released: 1974 (FR)[3]
  3. "Something for the Girl with Everything" b/w "Marry Me"
    Released: January 1975
  4. "Achoo" b/w "Something for the Girl with Everything"
    Released: March 1975 (US)[4]
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideC–[1]
Classic Rock8/10 stars[5]

Propaganda is the fourth album by the American rock group Sparks.

Release[edit]

The album followed its predecessor Kimono My House by half a year and was a successful album in the UK and US. It reached #9 on the UK Album Chart[6][7](which would remain their second highest album chart position in the UK for nearly 43 years until pushed down into third place by Hippopotamus in 2017)[7] and #63 on the Billboard 200 (and remains their highest peak in that country).[8]

The singles "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" and "Something for the Girl with Everything", while not as successful as those from Kimono My House both reached the top twenty in the UK reaching number 13 and number 17 respectively.[6] In France, "At Home, at Work, at Play" together with "Propaganda" was released as a single instead of "Something for the Girl with Everything". In the US, "Achoo" was released as the album's only single.

Critical reception[edit]

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "Admirers of these self-made twerps certainly don't refer to them as pop because they get on the AM—for once the programmers are doing their job. So is it because they sing in a high register? Or because a good beat makes them even more uncomfortable than other accoutrements of a well-lived life?; 'Never turn your back on mother earth,' they chant or gibber in a style unnatural enough to end your current relationship or kill your cacti, and I must be a natural man after all, because I can't endure the contradiction."[1]

Dave Connolly of AllMusic touched on the criticism: "The torrential outpouring of words and ideas, underscored by guitars and keyboards with oft-shifting rhythms, either repels or attracts listeners." However, he believed "close-minded" American listeners were more critical of the album's "cross between 10cc and the power pop of the late '70s", concluding that "Propaganda remains one of Sparks' brightest achievements, brimming with a loopy charm that continued to captivate the open-minded English listeners".[2]

Re-release[edit]

Propaganda was re-issued and remastered by Island in 1994 and 2006. The first issue by the Island Masters subsidiary added the b-sides "Alabamy Right" and "Marry Me". The '21st Century Edition' also included an interview from Saturday Scene recorded in November 1974.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Ron Mael; except where indicated.

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Propaganda" 0:23
2."At Home, at Work, at Play" 3:06
3."Reinforcements"Ron and Russell Mael3:55
4."B.C." 2:13
5."Thanks But No Thanks"Ron and Russell Mael4:14
6."Don't Leave Me Alone with Her" 3:02
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" 2:28
2."Something for the Girl with Everything" 2:17
3."Achoo" 3:34
4."Who Don't Like Kids" 3:37
5."Bon Voyage"Ron and Russell Mael4:52
  • Sides one and two were combined as tracks 1–11 on CD reissues.

Personnel[edit]

Sparks[edit]

Technical personnel[edit]

  • Produced by Muff Winwood
  • Recording Engineers - Richard Digby-Smith, Robin Black and Bill Price
  • Remix Engineer - Bill Price
  • Concept and Photography - Monty Coles

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: S". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 13, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  2. ^ a b c Propaganda (Review) at AllMusic. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "45cat - Sparks - Propaganda, At Home At Work At Play / Marry Me - Island - France - 6138 061". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  4. ^ "45cat - Sparks - Achoo / Something For The Girl With Everything - Island - USA - IS 023". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-12-14.
  5. ^ Makowski, Peter (December 2006). "Still able to start a fire: Sparks Reissues". Classic Rock. p. 101. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Sparks". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
  7. ^ a b Sparks on UK charts official website - select Albums tab for album statistics
  8. ^ "Allmusic - Billboard Albums - Sparks". Billboard. Retrieved 2008-12-04.

External links[edit]