Showing posts with label spoon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spoon. Show all posts

Thursday, January 4, 2018

the top 50 best songs of 2017

I said on Twitter a few months ago that of all of my year-end lists, this one is always the most complicated - because it's by far the most personal. With the constraint of a list of hits or talking about records in aggregate, you've manufactured some distance - but if you're just going through the list of the songs that spoke the most to you regardless of whether they were a single or not, there's no separation or barrier.

And when you add to the fact that 2017 was a tumultuous year - not just for me but for most of the world, although I did have my own share of trying times - it's a little unnerving to go through the cutting process and realize how dark it truly got. There isn't much escapism in this top 50, and what escapism does show up is very much colored by consequences waiting in the wings. I'm not saying it's downbeat - in comparison to the melancholy that colored a lot of last year, there are more pronounced moments of joy and triumph - but it is by far the most unsettled, pulling the least punches and ultimately producing a psychological profile of my year in 2017 I'm still not quite sure what to do with. But hey, all of these came from albums I covered this year, and I wouldn't have spent a month pruning this list to its form now if I didn't have faith in it - even though I can guarantee there'll be a fair few conspicuous entries that aren't here if you're comparing to other critical lists. So let's get this started...

Monday, March 27, 2017

video review: 'hot thoughts' by spoon

Well, this happened. Not a lot to say, only that it's great indie rock and I really like it.

Sadly, what's coming next... wish I liked it as much, but stay tuned!

album review: 'hot thoughts' by spoon

So here's the frustrating thing about some acts, and I'm talking about a rare few indeed. The groups that right from the start are so consistently strong, so focused, so uniformly consistent with quality... that for some inexplicable reason they fall out of the critical conversation. And while I'll place a considerable amount of blame on fans and critics taking certain bands for granted, on some level I get it - after all, people often seem to remember the tremendous standouts and are more willing to forgive the missteps, they don't really value consistent greatness in the same way. And in a sad bit of irony, a lot of these consistent albums are only given greater significance beyond the devoted cult fanbase - because you can guarantee acts like this have a cult following more than most - when the band slips up, or changes sound dramatically and splits the fanbase, or breaks up entirely.

And I think you can make the argument that Spoon fits in this category. A quick sidebar: I've long accumulated enough music that I could fill up my iPod twice over, so I've made an effort to only include great albums or better... and with the exception of Transference, I've got every Spoon album on there! And that's telling: for over a decade since the late 90s, Spoon has cranked out album after album of quality... but I can definitely see a casual observer not being able to tell the difference from record to record. So at some level I knew it was only a matter of time before Spoon decided to switch things up - and on some level, if you go back through 2014's They Want My Soul, you could see this coming. Part of this probably could be linked back to producer Dave Fridmann coming on board and bringing his characteristic heavier, blockier sound, but probably even more linked to the quiet departure of longtime member Eric Harvey, who had been with the band since Kill The Moonlight. In other words, I wasn't entirely surprised to hear they had shifted their sound in a more indie pop direction, pulling in more guest vocalists in order to pump up their sound and add a little more diverse instrumentation, this could turn out to be something interesting - so did Hot Thoughts stick the landing?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

video review: 'they want my soul' by spoon

Man, this is a solid record. Not exceptional or something that'll blow your mind, but Spoon delivered exactly what you'd expect and a damn great version of it too. Seriously, check this album out.

Otherwise, this is going to be a busy week for me. I think I'll tackle Kimbra first, and then it's Dragonforce. Stay tuned!

album review: 'they want my soul' by spoon

So here's one of the frustrating things about being a music critic, particularly if you cover indie music in any variety. Inevitably, you build up a list of indie bands that, for some reason, could have had that big mainstream breakout hit and yet never did. And on a certain level, it makes no sense: these bands might have a pop sensibility or ridiculously catchy choruses or even a sound that would fit perfectly into the mainstream but for a slightly weirder edge, and yet they've never managed to get that big hit. It's especially infuriating if you're a fan of power pop, a genre fitting between rock and pop music with huge choruses and a ridiculous amount of pop appeal, and yet always seem to get caught in the gap and never get the airplay they deserve.

And if you know indie rock, you know one of the bands that tends to leap to the top of that list is Spoon, the indie rock band that has accumulated a ton of critical acclaim over the past decade over several great albums and yet never got that breakout hit. It's a more than a little frustrating, mostly because Spoon is a great melody-driven rock band with tons of guitar texture, ridiculously catchy choruses, and lyrics that are strikingly clever without being flashy about it. If anything, that's probably the reason Spoon never got that monster hit - they aren't exactly a flashy band or one that's about to switch up their style or sell out in order to break, instead content to pump out great record after great record for their devoted fanbase, from their early hard-edged albums reminiscent of the Pixies to the understated punch of their early 2000s work to their brief flirtation with the mainstream with their mid-2000s work. And yeah, you can count me among that group of newfound fans, with my favourite record probably being Girls Can Tell with Kill The Moonlight as a close second. 

As for my least favourite Spoon album... okay, here's the thing about Transference, their 2010 release that soured some of their newfound fans won after Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - it's not a bad album, all exposed messy edges and minor chords and abrasive lyrics, but it's the sort of album where every 'imperfection' is carefully calculated, and that can resonate as a little off to me. But after that record, Spoon took another four years off and came back finally this year with They Want My Soul - how is it?