Tragically Hip—Spoon

Ladle? Nope, Spoon.

Thoughts on a subway from The Forum’s aesthete, or, music that doesn’t suck.

by Sarah Albers

I was being jostled by tourists on the Washington, D.C., rush-hour Metro the first time I heard “New York Kiss”. (Harry Reid could smell them, I’m sure of it.) The final track of Spoon’s new album was gorgeous: smooth, polished, but graced with the sharp, poppy spunk shared by Britt Daniel’s myriad projects.

The train hurtled along. I listened rapturously. But all things in life must end; so, too, the song and train ride. The Metro decelerated. The squat, swarthy woman in front of me was thrown violently backward and lodged her elbow in my gut. My iPhone went silent. The sticky horde disembarked and went their various ways.

Spoon has had a long and productive run in the indie music industry, beginning in 1994 with Nefarious and ending in 2010 with Transference. The albums produced with Merge Records (Love Ways of 2000 being the first) were released to increasing acclaim. They Want My Soul, released only last week, doesn’t look like it wants to break the upward trend.

There have been a few alterations to the outfit, though. Loma Vista Recordings, Spoon’s new label, has ties to the major-label music industry that the band previously abhorred. Additionally, two new producers were brought on board: one, Dave Fridmann, has worked with the likes of The Flaming Lips and MGMT; the other, Joe Chiccarelli, has worked with outfits including My Morning Jacket.

The result is a much more palatable album. The tousled hair of early Spoon has been combed, to some extent; its swaggering, dissonant guitar riffs refocused. But the explosive energy is still there. “Rent I Pay”, the first track, is positively bombastic. Chugging, infectious rhythm drives the song from the very beginning. At the other end of the spectrum—and album—is “New York Kiss”. It’s grounded on a solid, danceable groove but retains a fluid, shimmering, ethereal aesthetic.

I’m just glad to finally be able to listen to them without getting elbowed.

Summer Anthems (In Case You Missed ‘em):

“Chandelier” by Sia

“Habits (Stay High)” by Tove Lo

“I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers

“Sweet Ophelia” by Zella Day

“Hard Time” by Seinabo Sey

Sarah Albers is a junior studying politics. She is a member of the Dow Journalism Program.

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