Hippopotamus Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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  • Summary: The 23rd full-length studio release for the Los Angeles rock duo of Ron and Russell Mael is the first new material in eight years (not including 2015 collaborative album FFS).
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Scandinavian Design
I've got nothing, just a table and two chairs But they're beautiful, and I just stand and stare Time and space intertwined Elegance, simple... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. 100
    Like Randy Newman, the Mael brothers have a knack for voicing the hopes and regrets of diverse, sometimes unsympathetic characters; and the latitude afforded by their operatic arrangements allows them to add commentary in real time, like an instrumental Greek chorus.
  2. Sep 12, 2017
    89
    It may rank as one of their best outings yet, as its multifaceted compositional creativity, coupled with its consistently fetching melodies and words, makes it a thoroughly impressive and engaging listen. As always, Sparks shows its stylistic siblings how it’s truly done.
  3. Aug 18, 2017
    80
    Sparks show a knack for succinctly exposing quirky Americanisms while getting is all to happily sing along. [Jul - Sep 2017. p.60]
  4. 80
    Hippopotamus feels like the latest volume in an alternate cultural history formed of all the weird things that only Sparks are audacious enough to make songs about. It’s an admirable commitment to silliness.
  5. Sep 12, 2017
    80
    Even when the subject matter starts out a little more sober, their unflagging wit isn’t far away.
  6. Sep 13, 2017
    71
    The Sparks catalog does not lack for unpleasant characters or situations, but existential anxiety rarely comes through this overtly.
  7. Q Magazine
    Aug 29, 2017
    60
    Ultimately, floating voters will lament the lack of a flat-out glam and/or electro-disco belter to rival their hits. [Oct 2017, p.111]

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Sep 13, 2017
    10
    SPARKS has spanned a career over 40 years and they still find some exciting territories in Pop music..
    SPARKS the only Pop definitive Group
    SPARKS has spanned a career over 40 years and they still find some exciting territories in Pop music..
    SPARKS the only Pop definitive Group .... go on Maels.
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  2. Oct 1, 2017
    7
    This has all the earmarks of a great Sparks album - the music varies from classical to pastoral to downright wacky, likewise the lyrics; RonThis has all the earmarks of a great Sparks album - the music varies from classical to pastoral to downright wacky, likewise the lyrics; Ron Mael's keyboards are as interesting as ever, and brother Russell's voice practically the Dorian Gray of pop/rock. So why does this fall flatter than usual with me? Because the guys made the mistake of making that album with Franz Ferdinand first, and it rocked like a **** and challenged everybody, performers and listeners alike. Compare that to the last minute of "The Missionary Position" here, which, despite its kooky charm, basically vamps on the last chord change over and over for too long at the end before petering out, and you get the disappointment. As a matter of fact, that's how several of the songs here end. "Giddy Giddy" lives up to its name, and "What The Hell Is It This Time" is a pumping good time for a song about leaving God the hell alone, but elsewhere the guys are victims of the high bar they themselves have set for 40 years. When Russell sings "I wish you were fun," I can't help but think that I wish they were funner. Expand