Spoon, Hot Thoughts | Album Review
Alternative, Indie-rock darlings Spoon shine on ‘Hot Thoughts,’ successfully tweaking their sound and expanding the horizons.
Spoon ranks high among the darlings of alternative and indie rock. For alt-music fans, the release of a new Spoon album is “kind of a big deal.” Notably, the band has been around for more than two decades! They return to drop their first album in nearly three years, Hot Thoughts. Hot Thoughts follows successful 2014 effort, They Want My Soul. As great as They Want My Soul was, arguably, Hot Thoughts is even better.
Hot Thoughts kicks off spiritedly with standout, “Hot Thoughts.” Interestingly, the title track possesses a danceable quality, despite the fact Spoon isn’t a pop band. Even given its pop sensibilities, the record rocks hard enough to please fans and rock enthusiasts alike. Both musically and lyrically this is an enticing record. While Britt Daniel and company partake of innuendo, they never cross the line. About a romantic interest, given the cited city, the assumption is she’s Japanese.
Beyond “Hot Thoughts,” Spoon continues to intrigue with follow-up, “WhisperI’lllistentohearit.” A mouthful, “Whisper” begins slower in tempo, with an enigmatic sound. Daniel seems to encourage a lonely soul:
“I know you must hold secrets / Such a long way from home / You’re a lost letter needs delivery / Someday you’ll be where you should go.”
Following a slower pace, the record part kicks up the tempo and infuses more energy. Lyrically, Daniel continues to compel, particularly when he treads on the absurd:
“Candy-man drives a fast car / He can be there any time / His fuel is anticipation / It’s good to feel wanted sometimes / All these expectations / Waiting for my cells to divide / Wait, is that too maudlin? / I’m just looking for some sign of life.”
Daniel Britt takes one for the team. He will clearly “listen to hear it” if nobody else will. Read into it romantically, like much of Hot Thoughts, and it’s more understandable why he’ll “listen to hear it.”
“Do I Have to Talk You Into It”
“Do I Have to Talk You Into It” gives the band its third home run. The funk is alive and well, thanks to a prominent bass line, clever harmonic progression, and overall superb production. Once more, there’s a dash of innuendo, perfectly complementing the throwback sound:
“Do I have to talk you into it? / Do we have to make sense of it? / When I’ve known you such a long time / And we never had to act polite.”
“First Caress” keeps Hot Thoughts groovy. Is this neo-disco? Not exactly, but it is danceable rock. Daniel clearly can’t get past his first love – rather “first caress” – as he remembers her effect on him.
“Angel, my love, my first caress / I come back and I find you never changed / Then I think all the years from your love I’ve been dispossessed / Aw ha / From your love, my first caress.”
The groove rolls on with “Pink Up,” which is limited lyrically, and takes it time to percolate. If nothing else, it’s fascinating thanks to the experimental, extraterrestrial production work. “Can I Sit Next to You” is more accessible and straightforward than “Pink Up.” Daniel delivers one of his grittiest, most soulful performances. Essentially, Britt wants to cut the BS.
“Can I sit next to you? / Can you sit next to me? / Get the stars out your eyes / Come and bring them to me.”
“I Ain’t The One”
“I Ain’t The One” contrasts the entirety of Hot Thoughts. That is part of its allure. Daniel continues to be confident vocally, but there’s also a smoothness that contrasts his signature bite. The use of background vocals is an excellent touch, not to mention relatively tame production work.
“Tear It Down” maintains the soulful, throwback quality of Hot Thoughts. “Tear It Down” has a tough act to follow with “I Ain’t The One,” but Spoon continues to excel without a hitch. Penultimate record “Shotgun” keeps the tempo quick and the production crisp, while the instrumental “Us” is a sight to behold – rather listen to!
Spoon delivers a gem with Hot Thoughts. There isn’t a miss whatsoever, with the band changing their sound from 2014 effort, They Want My Soul. Even given the consistency of the Hot Thoughts, it’s hard to top the sick opening trio, which is simply genius.
Gems: “Hot Thoughts,” “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” “Can I Sit Next to You” & “I Ain’t The One”