I feel like any discussion of Spoon will automatically boil down to one simultaneously of style, for style’s own sake. Sure enough, on “Hot Thoughts” which acts as new LP’s titled track opener, I don’t hear any glaring STRUCTURAL unorthodoxies, but I do hear everything stylistically from androgynous synth-pop to slight heavy metal strokes on the guitar (nothing too hardcore, more like the median intensity of Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga).
And you don’t know how many conversations about Bowie I’ve sat through bored in the last year and change, but I’d say Iggy Pop said it best on the excellent video documentary Gimme Danger: “David Bowie was there. He was… cool.” This followed a portion in which he effusively glowed about how much of a musical influence The Velvet Underground had been, and then he was just like “David Bowie was… cool.” Well, I knew I’d pay the price for this sneering (and sneeringly cool) scoffing at the man of a thousand hairdos, and my threshold for androgyny would be put to the test — put Spoon DO sound like a band newly inspired here, and sure, they’re ripping off Wilco like they always have for their guitar soloing technique (he** “Whisperi’lllistentohearit” even makes repeated mention of a “satellite,” which makes me think of the Wilco song “You Sattelite,” which is excellent). Killer, blistering stuff. Janet Weiss was on “track sequencing,” by the way.
Here comes “Do I Have to Talk You into it,” which strikes me as a creepy title, but that’s part of what I love about Spoon: they tote things, people and feelings closely, as a way of better knowing and internalizing them. And true to form, Hot Thoughts is an album full of bona fide feelings. And HERE are those obnoxious drums which opened They Want My Soul, and they’re a lot better positioned third, than first.
You know, I was just about to embark on a post about how singles are making a comeback, with artists like just releasing one song at a time online, and I was going to say that I actually think this is a good thing, a change from what I’d previously thought — I sort of think that artists should want to craft a big statement a la an album and want to stay a while, but these “single” tycoons certainly have precedent on their side — The Beatles, The Who and the Rolling Stones all made the practice of releasing one song at a time — songs no less accountable than “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” “Substitute” and “Gett off of My Cloud,” for that regard.
With how different one song is from another on this album, and seeing as Janet Weiss is on “Track Sequencing,” I’m willing to abide the full-length format here. “First Caress” starts to seem torpid for a second, but proves visceral enough upon a killer descending piano line following the chorus, and an increasingly plangent vocal at certain points which finds Britt Daniel’s voice sounding incredibly raw, almost like John Lennon’s on their version of “Twist and Shout” (legend has it that’s because they finally got it right on like the 12th take that day or something). “Pink up” mellows things down… and… I gotta say it… props to Janet here. That “track sequencing” just says it all, hehe.