Rockstars and Presidents have a lot in common.
Ask a group of kids and the majority will probably say that they want to be a rockstar or the President when they grow up. But after a few years, the same kids will realize that being a rockstar or the President isn’t all that it’s cracked up with be. Whether it be touring the world and selling out arenas or touring the world to meet with foreign leaders, both jobs are tiring; thousands of people dream of being rockstars and Presidents, but only few eventually succeed. And the ones that do, quickly learn that in order to reach to the top, you have to sell your soul is some way or another.
Spoon’s eight studio album emphatically proves that they are rockstars without selling their souls by titling their album They Want My Soul. So, keeping with the comparison made earlier, if Spoon can be rockstars without selling their souls, then that makes them the rockstar equivalent of Abraham Lincoln.
In ten songs and 38 minutes, Spoon once again proves that minimalism doesn’t necessarily mean simple. For example in two-and-a-half minutes,the cover of the Beatle’s “I Just Don’t Understand” takes the listener on an dissonant-sounding journey, explaining a “one-sided love” that’s torturing lead singer Britt Daniels, evident through his emotionally-charged delivery and the repetitive lyrics.
Much like the build-up of the album opener and single, “Rent I Pay,” Spoon’s rise has been a slow, but smoldering flame. Consistently good, without the drama or derivatives to more radio-friendly music like other early 2000’s rock groups have grappled with, Spoon has been quietly building up a strong repertoire of great music since ’98’s A Series of Sneaks. Due to a combination of Daniel’s matured voice, the band’s familiarity with playing and performing together, and finally working with producers like Joe Chiccarelli and Dave Fridmann, They Want My Soul is the band’s best album to date.
“Inside Out” is probably one of the prettiest and tranquil songs that Spoon has ever released, which means a lot coming from a band that thrives on gritty soul. Daniels falsetto coupled with soothing, waterfall-esque trip-hop beat affirms why the album is one of the best releases of 2014.
Other highlights include “Outliers,” where Daniels picks fun of himself as he describes a girl who “walked out of Garden State” because she “had taste.” By taking a dig at the Zach Braff film that thrust indie rock into Hollywood, the band is also admitting that they’ve sold their sould at times; episodes of Veronica Mars and The O.C. both feature Spoon tracks. (Side note: I first discovered Spoon because of The O.C.) However, the self-deprecating lyrics also suggest that the band is no longer in the business of soul-selling, and that statement is reaffirmed in the title track, “They Want My Soul.” “I’ve got nothing that I want to sell, they got nothing, nothing I want,” Daniels croons over a catchy guitar riff that seems very Strokes-esque.
Closing out the album is “New York Kiss,” a synthy dancerock number with a beat that’s reminiscent of an LCD Soundsystem track. Singing about an unforgettable girl in an exotic city, Daniels vocals shine over the catchy and slick background.
Eight albums later, Spoon has created one of the most creative, unique and just simply good albums in recent rock history-all without selling their souls.
1. Inside Out
3. Do You