Elevate Difference


Do you have a band with which you feel a connection that far surpasses all others? Are you a writerly music nerd who wouldn’t dream of interviewing said band for fear the mystique would be shattered? I reserve such ardor for only one band. I met Spoon frontman Britt Daniel a few times over the years at various North American concerts. Once, I had the guts to say, “Hi, I’m Britt too.” He put his arm around my shoulders, made a fist with his other hand, and took a photo with me. It’s crazy intense. So is my love for his band.

I can’t normally write about Spoon because my deep devotion to their music simply doesn’t feel properly transferred to the page. I’m so wholly obsessed with my own insular lyrical interpretations that I can’t typically bring myself to philosophize about them in public. I am the ultimate fangirl in a white boy musical land, but dammit if I don’t know just as much about Spoon and own every obscure 7” vinyl, complication track, and b-side single they’ve released in the past fifteen years.

I am trying to push myself as a writer, and quite frankly, you need to know about this album. Transference, the new record from Spoon and an appropriate nod to the way I treat their lyrics and music as my own personal autobiographical soundtrack, is yet another gem in a discography of precious stones. Cryptic lyrics, brilliant synth, complex percussion, and Daniel’s sultry voice have fused to make another superior record.

Opening track “Before Destruction” brings to mind the much loved but terribly overlooked Soft Effects EP. In what I hear as a nod to self-loathing, Daniel croons, “Everyone loves you for your black eye.” I sure hope so.

What would it mean for an ex-partner to call and say “Is love forever?” The song of the same name poses the question, and I took a moment to ponder how my life partner ended up having roughly the same floppy hair and thin physique as Mr. Daniel.

Misplaced nostalgia and ideas of disappearing to where no one will know you are prominent on “The Mystery Zone.” As someone who has moved to new unknown cities several times, I should mention that this concept sounds much better in song.

Reminiscent of Kill the Moonlight's “Paper Tiger” or “The Infinite Pet” from Gimme Fiction, the incredibly pared down “Who Makes Your Money” repeatedly offers that very inquiry. For the first time in my life, I am not the highest (or sole) income earner in my relationship. Indeed, who makes my money?

“Got Nuffin” is a leg-slapping, foot-tapping anthem about how you have “nothing to lose but darkness and shadows.” I’ve admittedly had the Got Nuffin EP since it was released last year, but the track’s inclusion on Transference loses nothing from repeated previous plays.

I could explain every track in perfect detail, its first-rate arrangement. Britt Daniel is one of the few men who could make lyrics like “You were there but you weren’t” or “All I know is all I know” sound ingenious. I digress for the sake of space.

Every time a new Spoon record drops, I have to wait until I have alone time at home to put it on without distractions. I treat no other band with such reverence. I can’t believe they make this music, and that it is so consistently amazing. Run—I mean it, RUN—to get your copy of Transference.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, January 28th 2010

"street tar and summer, will play a trick on your soul/sole"


Anon, it never hit me that Dorian's was a real place! It all makes so much sense now!—"My boots are on the mend." The reason you don't talk to Britt is exactly the same reason I don't dissect the lyrics. What if I ruin something for myself? I'd dare say Spoon saved my life over the years with their cryptic magic. I can survive any heartbreak with enough spins of "Everything Hits At Once." Fangirls unite!!

cheers! brittany

Wow, this review could have been written by me (except not as eloquently ;). Spoon is my favorite band. I obsess over their lyrics; Every time I walk by Dorien's boot repair shop in Portland I think of Black Like Me. I have had many opportunities to talk to Britt, but do not want to shatter the mystique and the mystery. Speaking of mystery (Zone), I've been listening to that one a lot this week and thinking about how accurately it describes my move to Portland years ago and wondered if that was what the song was about (Britt's move to Portland, not mine, of course). God, I sound like a crazy fangirl (which is probably true). Happy to see another fangirl out there :)

Right on, Alyx. Haunting is a great word for this one. I never get over how amazing they are, how they get better even when I think it couldn't possibly happen. I'm also really jazzed to see Rob Pope consistently in the lineup. I was a Get Up Kids fan in my teens and am so happy he grew up to do something so awesome. Feels like it all comes full circle.

Cheers! brittany

Thanks for your review, Brittany. As an Austin-based Spoon fan, I'm way into this album myself. Stuck on repeat for sure.

One thing that I think really sets Transference apart for me is its production value. Britt Daniel and Jim Eno have served as producers for some time, but this is the first time they've gotten sole credit for a full-length. They have such a great sense of musical space and balance. I love how vocal lines get clipped, transitions stutter, and phrases loop and swirl around in this very haunting album.