When it comes to indie bands, I believe we are all allotted a few “I-found-them-firsts,” and I would like to publicly claim the ever-changing, wondrous band Spoon as one of my prideful discoveries. Named after a song by the 1960s German rock band Can, Spoon is a small-time-turned-big-deal indie band from Austin, TX. Formed in 1994 by lead singer Britt Daniel and guitarist Jim Eno, the band has been described as showcasing an assortment of sounds from rock, to punk, to pop.
While their sound may be hard to describe, one thing is for certain: Spoon is one of the greatest indie bands to have ever existed. I may be biased, as the band does hold a lot of sentimental value for me—I grew up listening to Spoon. My mother would turn it on and we would do the dishes while dancing in the kitchen to their songs.
Having listened to them for so long, I can confidently say that I know my Spoon like no other. I’ve watched as they’ve grown—acquiring new members and letting go of old ones—and have supported them by seeing them live twice. So like a proud mother, I am here to tell you that they are great.
In all seriousness though, I can attest that the band’s overall sound does vary a lot. While Britt Daniel’s voice is incredibly distinct, the collection as a whole is sometimes dreamy, sometimes cutesy, and many times intense and even saturated with pain. But whatever Spoon offers, it is always the best of the best—thoughtful, inspiring and super cool.
On Mar. 17, I woke up excited but not yet knowing the personal struggle I was in for, as Spoon had just released their ninth album, “Hot Thoughts.” The album has a lot of fast-paced dance music, containing more pop and electronic elements than past Spoon albums.
When I first heard the album, I was aghast at how different the sound was compared to my favorite album of theirs, “Transference,” and to be honest, I was shocked at how upbeat and snappy the new record was. I knew that they would come up with something different, but it just seemed too different to be Spoon.
They say that there are seven stages of grieving. Well, I went through all of them, and I think I have finally come around to acceptance. After all, I should have known better—Spoon’s sound is ever-changing, and I’m not going to be head-over-heels in love with everything they make. But alas, like when you get a nose piercing and your parents still love you, my love for Spoon remained untarnished.
Upon further inspection, however I soon realized I was majorly overreacting. Listening to the album on repeat for days, I can acknowledge that some songs have grown on me, and while not all of them are as cerebral as I am used to, they are quite catchy. Even though the album is a little too pop for my liking, I can still see merit in the depth of the lyrics and the interweaving of new sounds.
The album begins with “Hot Thoughts,” an upbeat song that builds in intensity throughout the track. In my opinion, the best part of this song is this instrumental background riff that resembles someone tapping spoons (how fitting!) to glasses. After “Hot Thoughts,” the album becomes a little darker with “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” which is arguably the best song on the record. It starts off slow and then picks up with a gripping beat and Daniel shouting the lyric “Someday you won’t be so alone” with a rocklike desperation.
Almost all of the rest of the songs on the album have fast-paced pop components. Other highlights include, “Can I Sit Next To You?,” which is undeniably catchy. The lyrics boldly start off the song with the relatable lines, “Can I sit next you? Can you sit next to me?” and are backed up with a powerful pop indie sound that disintegrates as the song continues.
“Tear It Down” has a similar sound to that of their 2005 album “Gimme Fiction,” and has a lot of anti-Trump sentiment with its chorus: “Let them build a wall…It’s just bricks and ill intentions. They don’t stand a chance. I’ll tear it down.”
Analyzing the record as a whole, the songs primarily concern themes about love, having a crush and heartbreak. For a 20-year-old band comprised of middle-aged men, I was surprised to see how seemingly youthful the lyrics and concepts were. However, I think this adds to the appeal of Spoon.
Despite a changing sound and a different approach in delivery, the band never falls short of having thoughtful lyrics imbued with intense emotions and a certain social consciousness that is both relatable and admirable.
In the end, I think I can get behind it. “Hot Thoughts” presents an innovative, groovy Spoon which is especially respectable as the band is getting into its 23rd year. I would recommend it if you are in need of some relatable, happy tracks or wanting to have a small dance party.