Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's dark in herrre

So, here's the deal: Spoon doesn't do slow songs. Their songs are driving, rhythmic, percussive, hopping, snappy, edgy, momentous. But no ballads.

"Metal Detektor" from A Series of Sneaks is about as close as it gets. "Me and the Bean" from Girls Can Tell has a soaring chorus. We take those wisps of balladry, and hold them closer than if we were Josh Groban fans who were spoon-fed (hey, a pun?!?!) on high notes.

Transference is a hard-edged album. "Got Nuffin'" and "Is Love Forever?" and "Trouble Come Running" just race by, for example. Britt Daniel said in one interview that Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was an album about breaking up and breaking down, but Transference is about getting back up. It's a getting back out there album. It's got an edge in its step.

And yet ... it has two *slow* songs, including "Goodnight Laura", and one of them - this one - is among the most beautiful love songs I've ever heard. Not because "Out Go the Lights" is padded with vibrato, harmony or ornamentation, but because Mr. Daniel seems to lay his heart bare in this song. His devoted fans know that an early and important girlfriend hailed from Chicago. She shows up in early songs. Chicago does too. Every album post Telephono has a Chicago reference.

This song brings her back: "You were the one two punch from Illinois."

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