I was thumbing through my 7” singles recently and came across Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Zappa head, and with all the money that I spent collecting his absolute massive discography I could have bought a car by now. But I didn’t always love Zappa, in fact, the first time I heard that VERY song, “Valley Girl”, played to me on Sony Walkman headphones by a 2nd cousin, I remember thinking it was musically the worst song I had possibly ever heard. I was probably 11 years old, listening to a lot of Michael Jackson and Madonna at the time, or whatever was on MTV. A decade later, something clicked and I couldn’t listen to anything BUT Zappa.

It was around that time, when on every payday I would go directly to the record store and I spend every last dime I had earned that week on music (read: Zappa), that my record-shopping pal Freddy, who was about 8 years older than me, and from Chicago, and with much more eclectic and refined taste in music than me, would constantly be trying to turn me onto Fripp & Eno, 13th Floor Elevators, The Raincoats, Jonathan Richmond and the Modern Lovers, Pere Ubu, and the Like, all of whom I somewhat reluctantly bought at his advice, only to be slightly disappointed by when I got them back to my turntable at home. These days, all those records are dearly beloved in my collection and in heavy rotation.

I’m recognizing from this pattern that Sparks is another one of these giant blind spots in my music appreciation when I’m asking myself “Who are these guys and why am I supposed to care about them?” I’m certain that in a few years time that question will evolve to “Where has this band been my whole life!?!?”

I guess it says it right there in the title of this sexy Sparks single that Asao scored from Garageville Records in Tsutsujigaoaka – that I’m late to the party yet again, and that I need to learn how to better “Beat the Clock”. I can hear it in Asao’s expression too, “What do you mean you have any Sparks! That’s PERVERSE and borderline CRIMINAL!! Don’t tell anybody you don’t know Sparks!”

Taking this chance to level up and get concertedly hip to Sparks. Thanks Asao!
More Tokyo Record Style on the way!

Sparks – Beat The Clock
Label: Virgin – VS 270
Format: Vinyl, 7″, 45 RPM, Single
Country: UK
Released: 1979
Genre: Electronic
Style: Synth-pop

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