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Music / No. 1 in Heaven

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This is the number one song in heaven
Why are you hearing it now, you ask
Maybe you're closer to here than you imagined
Maybe you're closer to here than you care to be
"The Number One Song in Heaven"

No. 1 in Heaven is the eighth studio album by American duo Sparks, released in 1979 and marking a transition from Rock to Synth-Pop Disco. The album is seen as a high point for the band on a close level to Kimono My House and Lil' Beethoven; it is highly influential in all runs of Electronic Music, and the band would continue to operate in Electronic Music for much of the rest of their career.

After their success as a Glam Rock band waned in Europe, the band attempted to attract an American following by taking on a West Coast sound, but this too failed by the band's admission. After hearing Donna Summer's "I Feel Love", the band enlisted the help of legendary producer Giorgio Moroder to give them a Synth-Disco makeover. The result brought renewed interest and success to the band in Europe, and the reduction of the band to just Ron and Russell paved way for a change in popular music from the typical "Rock band" lineup to one that allowed for every Synth-Pop duo of The '80s.



  1. "Tryouts for the Human Race" - 6:08
  2. "Academy Award Performance" - 5:02
  3. "La Dolce Vita" - 5:54
  4. "Beat the Clock" - 4:24
  5. "My Other Voice" - 4:56
  6. "The Number One Song in Heaven" - 7:27

You gotta beat the tropes, you gotta beat the tropes:

  • Anti-Love Song: "La Dolce Vita" is from the point-of-view of a proud Gold Digger.
  • Death Song: Implied with "The Number One Song in Heaven":
    This is the number one song in heaven
    Why are you hearing it now, you ask
    Maybe you're closer to here than you imagined
    Maybe you're closer to here than you care to be
  • Disco: The album is built on Giorgio Moroder's signature electronic disco sound.
  • Electronic Music: Hugely influential to many of its subgenres including Synth-Pop, House Music, and Techno.
  • Epic Rocking: "The Number One Song in Heaven" is one of the band's longest songs at almost seven-and-a-half minutes. "Tryouts for the Human Race" is just over six minutes.
  • Advertisement:
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The video for "The Number One Song in Heaven" uses a white background and fog machine to invoke this image.
  • Gold Digger: The narrator of "La Dolce Vita" is a proud one, and the song is a sarcastic anthem for them.
    Gold diggers arise
    Gold diggers are hungry, guys
    Gold diggers are we
    Step up, follow me
  • I Was Born Ready: Taken literally with "Beat the Clock". The second the narrator is born, he says goodbye to his mother and walks out to live a life of comical overachieving.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: As noted, "The Number One Song in Heaven" is one of the band's longest tracks, and it closes the album.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Tryouts for the Human Race" sounds like an energetic, hopeful call for freedom. The ones making the call are sperm, begging to be released during sex to become children.
  • Medium Awareness: The "other voice" in "My Other Voice" refers to the vocoder used in the song.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: The cover is simply a woman in a Labcoat of Science and Medicine holding a microscope against a flat white background.
  • New Sound Album: Previously the band were an Anglophile Glam Rock band, but when their popularity in Europe waned, they attempted a West Coast Rock/Pop sound to build an American audience. Both albums under this style failed to garner any attention, so they drove headlong into Electronic Disco for this album.
  • Record Producer: Giorgio Moroder, asked off of the strength of his work with Donna Summer.
  • The '70s: Released in 1979 and one of the blueprints for European Electronic Music in the following decade.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Team: While the creative center of Sparks was always the Mael brothers since Kimono My House, this album also condensed the overall band to just the duo, excluding Moroder and his recurrent session drummer Keith Forsey.
  • Sperm as People: The speakers of "Tryouts for the Human Race"
  • Synth-Pop: Along with Suicide, an Ur-Example of the "fire and ice" Synth Pop duosnote  that grew to popularity in the 80s with bands like Yazoo and Soft Cell.
  • Take That!: The narrator of "Academy Award Performance" sarcastically applauds a woman's ability to be completely fake in front of everyone.
  • Title Track: Played With, as the title is condensed from "The Number One Song in Heaven".
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The narrator of "Beat the Clock" is a cosmic overachiever of hilarious proportions, but he admits to two flaws getting in the way: he never entered sports because he didn't look good in shorts, and he was rejected from the army because he had "two left feet/Wore them out when I was three".
  • Visual Pun: The cover art has a spark plug in the top right corner.

Ooh, la-la-la-la, la-la-la


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