Indie-rock workhorses Spoon
are about to drop their highly anticipated ninth album, Hot Thoughts
, the follow-up to possibly the best album in their discography, 2014's They Want My Soul
. Granted, it's hard to say what the definite "best" Spoon album is, because the Austin, TX band has a staggering amount of fantastic music spanning across their 20+ year career. Even while tweaking and re-working their sound on an album-to-album basis, Spoon is one of the most reliable working bands today to deliver the goods and make catchy, solid rock music every single time. With that in mind, it was nearly impossible to narrow their best down to 10 songs, and there's no doubt some gems were missed out. Luckily, the band created an online app
with Spotify where you can upload a playlist of your 10 favorite Spoon tracks, and the app will make a custom Hot Thoughts
album cover based on your choices (the one for our list is shown above). Try it out when you get the chance, but first, here are our 10 favorite Spoon songs:
10. SISTER JACK (Gimme Fiction, 2005)
Kicking off the list is a simple lo-fi jam that proves that sometimes, all you need for a good song are crisp, shimmering guitars and a loud drumbeat. It's a song that initially seems like your typical garage-rock jam, but it throws you off with its white-noise solo section and 5/4 outro section. It's a great example of the band's ability to take conventional rock troupes and inject something unexpected under the surface.
9. EVERYTHING HITS AT ONCE (Girls Can Tell, 2001)
Possibly the most understated and melancholy track in the band's catalog, "Everything Hits At Once" serves as a emotionally heavy and reserved opener to 2001's Girls Can Tell
. Britt Daniel strikes you square in the heart every time he confesses, "I go to sleep but think you're next to me" over the somber guitars and minimal yet unrelenting keyboards. It's a song that accomplishes a lot with very little, and arguably is one of the band's most underrated tracks.
8. I SUMMON YOU (Gimme Fiction, 2005)
While the band is great at plugging in and making some noise, they can get the job just as well unplugged, as shown by this acoustic-driven earworm. Throwing the conventional "verse-chorus" structure out the window, the song winds and twists seemingly without aim, making it impossible for the listener to anticipate what chord will come next. But with such a catchy melody and entrancing rhythm, you'll happily want to stick around for the whole ride.
7. INSIDE OUT (They Want My Soul, 2014)
While Spoon built a name for themselves via an underground, lo-fi sound, They Want My Soul
saw the band flexing their production muscles and giving their sound a brand-new breath of fresh air. "Inside Out" is the biggest departure from the band's early noise-rock days, thanks to its swirling synths and tight drum machine, but Britt Daniel's snarling vocals show the band still has some well-worn grit under the polish. Also, this might not be all that important, but this song hands down has the best bass tone of 2014, if not the decade.
6. THE WAY WE GET BY (Kill The Moonlight, 2002)
This track shows that sometimes you don't need electric guitars to make a sick head-banger. The song that put the band on the map, "The Way We Get By's" raw, angsty energy made it perfect for features in shows like The O.C.
, and its minimalistic instrumentation and dry production lends to the overall feeling of a bunch of guys spontaneously getting together and letting out some musical aggression.
5. DONT YOU EVAH (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007)
If there's anything Spoon has always been good at since the beginning, it's the jam. You know, the kind of song that rides on one or two chords or a riff of some kind for a few minutes, but still manages to be thoroughly captivating. In "Don't You Evah," the whole song is centered on a funky bassline, but the band throws in enough dynamic variation and spastic guitar interjections to keep the song from ever feeling stale. Throw this song on repeat, and it might have you groovin' to the same beat for days.
4. YOU GOT YR. CHERRY BOMB (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007)
2007's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
featured some of the band's most ambitious arrangements, and this upbeat track is a showcase of the band and their most creative and downright fun. Complete with a horn section, vibraphone, and reverb-drenched tambourine, "Cherry Bomb" is a playful track with a whole lot of personality that doesn't sound like a lot of other rock songs, but is still unmistakably Spoon. You'll be damned if you're not smiling at least a little by the end of the track.
3. I TURN MY CAMERA ON (Gimme Fiction, 2005)
While the band can do loud and crazy pretty well, they can also sound as tight as a rubber band ready to burst, as best shown by one of their most recognizable tracks. With Britt Daniel's restrained falsetto over the fat bass and disco-like beat, the track almost sounds like if the Bee Gees emerged in the 90s grunge scene. One listen is all it takes for this song to get stuck in your head, but you'll probably find yourself listening to it a lot more than once.
2. DO YOU (They Want My Soul, 2014)
It's amazing that even after all these years as a band, Spoon is still at the top of their game. When most groups of their era are now legacy acts, running on fumes, or gone altogether, Spoon is still putting out their best music to date, including this brilliantly crafted lead single off They Want My Soul
. There really isn't much to "Do You" that we haven't heard already, from the urgent vocals to the perfectly constructed instrumentation. But the track works so well because it shows a band, who's been around the block a few times, taking everything they've learned about songwriting over the years and combining it into a singular, unbeatable song.
1. THE UNDERDOG (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007)
The opening burst of acoustic guitars feel like someone pushing you off a cliff, and right before you fall into oblivion, the jovial horn section breaks your fall and lets you settle into the track. That's the best way to describe "The Underdog": A crazy, exciting, erratic ride that sounds like a dusty basement party at 4am in the middle of summer. It's a whole vast musical journey packed into under four minutes, and the song truly is a testament to the band's story of coming out of nowhere and, after years of making music in the background, are finally getting their day in the sun and the recognition they deserve.