Spoon released their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts, Friday. The Austin, Texas-born have delivered another collection of perfectly crafted rock songs.
Britt Daniel and Co. have come to showcase a consistent approach, while maintaining a sense of experimentation, for over 20 years now. Plucking a selection of essential listening could just as easily feature full-album streams for the entire catalogue. Nevertheless, we’re undertaking the task of giving you a sampling of must-listen material.
In celebration of new Spoon day, here is their most essential tracks, in no particular order.
“Inside Out” – They Want My Soul
“Inside Out” sees Spoon delve into some synth-fueled arrangements on an experimental turn with They Want My Soul. Daniel sings “we got nothing else to give cuz time’s gone inside out,” and we’re like “are you sure?” The creative tank was refilled for this 2014 release.
“The Fitted Shirt” – Girls Can Tell
Girls Can Tell stands out as Spoon’s first really great record. “The Fitted Shirt” might not be the best track from the 2001 release, but it’s the most immediately catchy number.
“Small Stakes” – Kill The Moonlight
“The Way We Get By” may have launched Spoon into near-stardom, but it’s the calculated fragmentation of the Kill The Moonlight opener “Small Stakes” that sets the tone for the band’s follow-up to Girls Can Tell.
“I Turn My Camera On” – Gimme Fiction
It’s no mistake that one of Spoon’s biggest commercial hits is also one of the best numbers in their entire catalogue. “I Turn My Camera On” has been used in numerous television shows, including Friday Night Lights and Veronica Mars. The band’s signature precision and some rare falsetto from Daniel come together for one of the best songs of the 2000s.
“Knock Knock Knock” – They Want My Soul
Spoon’s 2014 release featured a re-tooled drum sound and the use of some acoustic guitars. “Knock Knock Knock” might be the record’s best showcase of these new avenues, with the integration of some pedal effects giving the song just the right amount of edge.
“Don’t Make Me A Target” – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Lyrically, “Don’t Make Me a Target” seemingly represents a sense of angst towards the end of George W. Bush’s second term as president of the United States. It’s also a helluva a way to kick off a record.
“Written in Reverse” – Transference
The first single from the 2010 record Transference meanders all over the map and somehow manages to keep it all together. It’s perfectly imperfect.
“They Never Got You” – Gimme Fiction
Gimme Fiction‘s penultimate song sees the unleash a slow and steady build that never really explodes in a way that the listener may be waiting for. The synth play is a sign of things to come years down the road.
“Rent I Pay” – They Want My Soul
Spoon took a break following Transference and eventually teased fans with a cryptic Facebook message that read “Spoon, R.I.P., June 10” in 2014. Of course, “R.I.P.” referred to the eventual first single, “Rent I Pay,” from the fantastic return to form that was They Want My Soul. Check out Indie88’s Black Box Session with Spoon for an incredible stripped-down performance of the track.
“Believing is Art” – Girls Can Tell
Where the first song off Girls Can Tell, “Everything Hits at Once,” dabbles in an almost melancholic tone, its successor “Believing is Art” is an exercise in anxious instrumentation and angst-fueled wordplay.
“Do You” – They Want My Soul
2010’s Transference didn’t resonate with fans like previous efforts, thus They Want My Soul represents something of a bounce back record. “Do You,” the second single off the 2014 album, stands among the band’s best material.
“The Underdog” – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
“The Underdog” might be the most fun Spoon have on a studio recording. Hand claps, a horn section, and pop perfection.
“Everything Hits at Once” – Girls Can Tell
The first song from the iconic 2001 album perfectly encapsulates the appeal of Spoon. It’s personal, fractured yet flawlessly structured, and effortlessly cool.
“I Summon You” – Gimme Fiction
With regards to their studio output, “I Summon You” is about as stripped-down as Spoon gets.
“The Way We Get By” – Kill The Moonlight
Following up a masterpiece like Girls Can Tell could have been an exercise in futility. Kill The Moonlight effectively signaled that Spoon was not about to become complacent on the heels of their breakthrough. The 2002 album was a hit with critics and fans alike, and saw them haul in a wealth of new fans with “The Way We Get By” eventually landing spots on The O.C., Stranger Than Fiction, and the Showtime series Shameless.
Stream Spoon’s brand new record Hot Thoughts below.