The third and mercifully last of Sparks
' mid-'80s dance pop albums, the frankly disappointing Music That You Can Dance To
delivered just two standouts: a remake of Russell Mael
's European "Modesty Blaise" 45 and the epic 1985 single "Change" (replaced on British pressings by "Armies of the Night"). Indeed, "Change" isn't merely the album's most provocative number; it ranks among the duo's finest performances of all time, a shifting soundscape of sonics and moods through which Russell Mael
's ruminations on the meaning of life are alternately cripplingly funny or soberingly thought-provoking. Time has mellowed a handful of other songs -- "Rosebud" offers another of Ron Mael
's intriguing observations on left-field Americana and later turned up a phenomenal 12" mix, while "Shopping Mall of Love" at least offers a suitably rinky-dink tune to match its theme. But ears that recoiled from Music That You Can Dance To
into 1986 are unlikely to return to it, and newcomers have at least 20 other Sparks
albums to visit before they get around to this one.