On August 5th, 2014, I was totally caught off guard by They Want My Soul, a superb album by the American band Spoon.
In 1993 Spoon was formed in Austin, Texas by singer/guitar player Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. The name Spoon was chosen as a tribute to (a song by) early 1970’s avant-garde krautrock band Can.
In 1994 the band debuted with the EP Nefarious, followed by their debut album in 1996: Telephono. In 1997 the second EP, Soft Effects, was released, followed by the album A Series Of Sneaks in 1998.
In 2000 the band released the EP Love Ways, one year later followed by third album Girls Can Tell. It was the first real taste of success for the band. However, success was limited to the US, in Europe Spoon was an unknown entity. The follow-up Kill The Moonlight was released in 2002, three years later followed by Gimme Fiction, which was an even greater success.
In 2007 the band released their first masterpiece: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. It was hugely successful (once again only in the US). Three years later their seventh album, Transference, was released.
In the US the band had grown into the critics’ darling. Album after album after album was highly praised. The metacritic site gathers as much (English) reviews as possible and aggregates them. In 2009 the site proclaimed Spoon to be “Top overall artist of the decade”, based on reviews for their albums released between 2000 and 2009.
They Want My Soul
Spoon’s eighth studio album was released on August 5th, 2014. They Want My Soul was released on their own Loma Vista Recordings.
More than 4 years had passed between the new album and its predecessor. The band had taken a break to start afresh on the sequel. The break certainly did work. I don’t remember why I bought the album. I think it’s because of a review that made me curious. From the first moment I heard the album I was hooked. The musical zest, the ingenuity, the strength, the production: it was (and still is) impressive.
Obviously, a lot of thought had gone into the composition and the sequence of the songs and the sound. It’s truly remarkable that the spontaneity didn’t suffer. The album is full of life and sparkles all the way through. Daniel has a beautiful, somewhat hoarse voice, that adds surplus value to the songs. The band is tight, soulful, funky even, but delivered with a kind of (indie?) rock feel. A unique combination, that elevates the band and the album.
It sounds direct, almost live and exciting. They Want My Soul is five years old already, yet every time I play it, it still feels like it was released yesterday. The album only clocks in at 37:35 minutes, which is short, but it has an aura of inevitability to it. Highly recommended! The album was a (very) moderate success in The Netherlands.
And, how did the album fare on metacritic? Very well indeed, it was the fifth (!) Spoon album to earn the “universal acclaim” status.
Three singles were culled from the album:
- Rent I Pay
Released on June 10th, 2014
- Do You
Released on July 1st, 2014
- Inside Out
Released on October 27th, 2014
All songs written by Britt Daniel, unless stated otherwise.
- Rent I Pay
- Inside Out
- Rainy Taxi
- Do You
- Knock Knock Knock
- Outlier *
- They Want My Soul
- I Just Don’t Understand **
- Let Me Be Mine
- New York Kiss ***
|*||Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, Eric Harvey|
|**||Marijohn Wilkin, Kent Westberry|
|***||Britt Daniel, Dan Wilson|
- Britt Daniel – vocals, guitar, keyboard
- Jim Eno – drums, percussion
- Rob Pope – bass, guitar, keyboard
- Alex Fischel – guitar, keyboard
- Eric Harvey – guitar, keyboard
After They Want My Soul
2017 saw the release of successor Hot Thoughts. More electronic, but still filled with great songs.
I saw the band play live twice. Unfortunately, I was slightly disappointed both times. The excitement and fire I heard on the albums, was lacking from the live shows. Essentially, it was good, the band played fine, the vocals were strong, but the sparkle just wasn’t there, it almost sounded sterile.
Recently the band released a compilation album, Everything Hits At Once: The Best Of Spoon.
Should you want to start with Spoon, start off with They Want My Soul: I think it’s the perfect starting album. But, everything that was released in this century is worth every penny. A truly great band!
Do you know Spoon? What’s your opinion? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Spoon sparkles, rocks and funks on They Want My Soul. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.
Spoon Live 2014 image: nextlevellights.com
Spoon – They Want My Soul image: pitchfork.com
Spoon – They Want My Soul – Singles image: discogs.com
Spoon 2014 image: Tom Hines
Spoon – Hot Thoughts image: youtube.com