This is the first time I’ve reviewed a soundtrack without seeing the movie, but a good soundtrack should be sufficient on its own. And in the case of Annette (coming out August 6), the soundtrack was created by SparksâA band I’ve loved since I was a young boy â so I was more than up to the challenge. Formed as Halfnelson in 1968 by California brothers Ron and Russell Mael and renamed in 1972, Sparks has been a constant source of inspiration. They have stayed true to their unique and quirky brand of edgy, witty and educated glam pop, while constantly reinventing themselves. The mere inability to categorize them is just one of the reasons they are so loved. The Mael brothers are experiencing a renaissance, part of the documentary testifies The Sparks Brothers, released in June. I more or less cried throughout the film, but also learned that they had always been obsessed with art films and that they almost worked with the legendary Jacques Tati on a film project. So when the Mael brothers slipped an ongoing concept album to French director Leos Carax (a huge Sparks fan), they were delighted he responded by asking to work with them to make it into a musical film. The stars of Annette include Marion Cotillard, Adam Driver and Simon Helberg, who each lend their voices to songs about the lives of their characters.
“So, what about the tunes?” ” you ask. I am happy to report that the Sparks are always at the top of their game. The opening track and single, “So May We Start”, is a classic Sparks-style banger with staccato piano, minimal percussion, and a gloriously liquid melody that transforms into a full-fledged new-wave symphony. The characteristic intelligence of the Mael brothers (which is in a way not boring) is manifested in lines that seem to frame the song like the introduction to a movie: âPlease shut up and sit down. you âandâ Exits are clearly marked â. “True Love Always Finds a Way” is gorgeous and spectral chamber folk, and “She’s Out of This World” is a dense, synth-laden anthem that seems to yearn to be the number one new song in Heaven (yes, it is. is a shameless reference to Sparks’ hit single in 1979). “Six Women Have Come Forward” would surely also be at the top of the charts in a parallel world where baroque aesthetics and quirky false pops coexist. I have to admit, though, that I don’t like songs where Russell Mael doesn’t sing. Cottilard’s Doris Day chirp on “Girl From the Middle of Nowhere” is nice, but I’m not sure Driver’s robust vocals go well with some of his tunes – although he effectively scolds the punk “You Used” to Laugh “, his pedestrian tips on” Sympathy for the Abyss “made me wish Russell sang it instead. I’m sure those choices make a little more sense in the context of the movie, so I’m going to suspend judgment until I see it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy all of the new Sparks classics on the soundtrack. v