It’s not very cool to like Spoon today, which is strange because they are an incredible band. Whenever I bring them up to friends, other music writers, or even members of my band, my comments are usually met with: “They’re OK,” “I don’t like them,” or something far more pejorative. The thing is, Spoon are one of the most strange and creative bands working in popular indie rock today and they consistently reinvent themselves.
Their tracks meld rock ‘n’ roll and electronic elements and are tempered by production that occasionally borders on noise. Their studio work is remarkably meticulous, using ambience and timbre cleverly and makes brilliant use of the depth between foreground and background. Their song structures are clever and vigorous with many tracks violently shifting speed, tone, or texture on a dime. For these reasons, I’ve been telling people for years that Transference is one of the best rock albums of this generation. But I have yet to convert anyone.
Songs like “The Ghost of You Lingers” and “I Saw The Light” engage musical space in an innovative way, using static motifs to explore the use of noise in songs and soloing. “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” from 2017’s Hot Thoughts, features ethereal pulses overlayed with fastidiously situated guitar until the song blasts into a different tempo, fleshing itself out with distortion, synths, and critically placed tambourines and shakers. This is extremely cool music.
Do a lot of people like Spoon? Sure. Do they appear on TV and at big festivals? Yeah. Can their music be heard in films and trailers? Yep. That’s because they are a great band. As you’re warming up to Hot Thoughts, enjoy this playlist of their outliers. Songs about death, sex, and loneliness shouldn’t be this fun to listen to.