“Dolby’s Rupees: ‘Rhythm and Soul’ by Spoon”

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, it’s safe to say, is a desperate plea to the cosmos on the part of Brit Daniel for reciprocation of mind-boggling emotion. Sometimes, I think, critics, or just hipsters/de facto undercover papa razzi in general, get caught up in what a musical artist does in his or her personal life. To me, this stuff doesn’t matter. Maybe it is that there’s just a perceived shortage of things to talk about with music — if everyone knows a song is good, well, we’re still past the final frontier here in 2013, we study atoms, as girls get more beautiful, and their dress skimpier and more revealing, a counterbalance to the intuition in us telling us that the world is already overpopulated, the ice caps melting, rivers getting more polluted, pervasive behavior getting more reclusive, and, even if a song is so good that we both agree on it, we still might have to fight, might get nowhere without resorting to the animalistic, primal id-driven tendencies. So here’s something to talk about.
Only four things seems to matter to Brit Daniel: girls, a cigarette case, rhythm and soul. This cut comes between the album’s first four tracks, two of which were hit singles, another of which was the pitchfork writer’s favorite, yet another of which is the prominent opener; and “Eddie’s Raga,” which for a while was my favorite cut, and then as well as yet another hit single. Who would notice and discuss this song, what are “rhythm” and “soul” to a young capitalist trying to climb the corporate ladder? Plus, the song, like all Spoon’s, is so painfully white, definitely not like “Oh Babydoll” by Chuck Berry, let alone “I’m Looking for a Woman” by Bo Diddley. So are there even “rhythm” and “soul” on this track at all? The proposition is certainly debatable. But maybe it doesn’t matter, though it provide a fun discussion topic.
If nothing else, there’s unparalleled deftness of chord selection, climax engineering and structure. The best, in fact, in the Spoon catalogue — if only because it’s more thematically palatable and smooth than album closer “Black Like Me” (a track which indeed does contain its greater tinge of “black music”).
The amount of cognizant unilateral emotional engineering involved in writing said track comes across as staggering, once the whole thing sinks in, and it’s great for processing while exercising, especially, or returning from a big, heroic day at work — Power Point presentation in front of the gurus, finally telling someone they smell bad and having them thank you for telling them, whatever the case may be.
But it helps to have something gutsy in your wake, the better with which to wield artistic listening aptitude. Many songs like “Rhythm and Soul” were probably conceived in various minds to unfortunately never be penned, for their unwieldy artistic prowess, similar to the factor at work with the quote that “Our greatest fear is not that we’re powerless, but that we’re powerful beyond all comprehension.” I remember reading the liner notes of The Velvet Underground’s Live at Max’s Kansas City, someone gushingly, probably over an extra fecund Naragansett brew, pontificating the obvious fact that “I think this is great rock and roll!” This is exactly though how I feel about this Spoon selection.
Like all great rock and roll, it has ostensible elements of both solid and liquid. It’s strong, bulbous enough to level high buildings, but also giving way, acquiescing, at times, like an overripe piece of fruit, so that when you try to grab it, to truly grasp it, it will always leave you tortured, piqued in the presence of limitless promise. This tortured state is also known as inspiration. Please take with caution, but by all means, take.

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