Monday, September 10, 2007

Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
(07.2007, Merge Records)

It’s muggy. Cloudy, and yet still hot as all get out, and two lines from Spoon’s most recent album seem extremely apt. Brit Daniels sings in “Black Like Me” that “street tar and summer do a job on your sole” (soul? The preceding line of the verse refers to his walking boots, but either interpretation appears to be appropriate to me). I felt street tar and summer doing a job on my soul today as I walked home. However, before I long for cooler days, just remember, “the winter gets cold in ways you always forget.” This admonition from “Rhythm & Soul” couldn’t be truer. And so, we return to the album, and Spoon in general. As with the seasons, there is always the temptation to want an album to be other than what it is, all the while forgetting to appreciate what you actually have in front of you. It is easy to curse the sun for bearing down on the back of your neck, but keep in mind that “the winter is cold in ways you always forget.” And in that same vein, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga isn’t as inventive as Kill the Moonlight, or as catchy and cutting as Girls Can Tell, and if anything it is simply an extension of Gimmie Fiction, but don’t let that dissuade you from the fact that it is an excellent, while not great, album. Spoon has long become a catchall band, and by this I mean that they seemingly can catch all listeners, and this album is a good example. Though your indie purists may listen, and knowing all of the critical acclaim, wonder with a touch of resentment, what’s the big deal? And your teeny poppers may listen without finding that gem of a radio single, but I think you would be hard pressed to find someone with an out and out aversion to Spoon’s sound. When you’re going on a first date, carpooling with people you don’t know, riding with parents, or young kids, and aren’t certain of their musical preferences, Spoon is always appropriate. In a way, that makes this album unremarkable, but in another way, that is extremely remarkable, and possibly more difficult to accomplish than creating an envelope pushing, abstract, or pop culturally sensational album that goes ten times platinum. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is solid, and a paragon of quality production. What it lacks in standouts, it makes up for in consistency. Having pretty high expectations of Spoon it is easy to be disappointed with their most recent album, but taken on its own it is worth listening too, though not necessarily essential. “It can’t all be wedding cake”, but this album can be, and is, like those finger foods that everybody will eat but don’t usually crave.

- Spruce Lee

No comments: