Review Summary: On Spoon's sixth album, the baby-sounding Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the band makes arguably one of the best albums of the year thus far.
This album gets started with the politically-charged opener called "Don't Make Me A Target,"... and what an opener. Complete with lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel singing clever and funny lines such as "Thugs and stick and bats and balls, for nuclear dicks with dialect drawls" and screeching the title of the song and a fantastic, over-1-minute breakdown keeps the listener completely focused with both the lyrics and
The next track, the haunting, unnerving, and curious first single "The Ghost of You Lingers," is definitely a song that grows on you... and it's somewhat thrilling to know that the pounding piano, echoing, distant vocals, and infrequent, unexpected sounds of static keeps this haunting mood. "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" seems to counteract the previous track, since this song has a summertime-esque sound and the lyrics seem to be about Daniel convincing someone to "blow out that cherry bomb". Such a cool song and possibly could be a single, although it's the shortest song
on the album.
"Don't You Evah," which is a cover from an unreleased song by former tourmates The Natural History, begins with people talking before a throbbing and instantly addictive bassline from Rob Pope (replacing Joshua Z.) comes in and simply drives the song. Very engaging also is what Daniel sings about... which is trying to convince a female friend to leave her lover of five years although she believes that everything is fine. An album highlight
Following is the OK sounding, pedestrian sounding "Rhthm and Soul", which drummer Jim Eno keeps the song from becoming downright boring and bland. This song just feels half-finished and incomplete compared to the rest of the album... almost as if Spoon needed one more song on the album. The weakest track of the album
. Then comes "Eddie's Ragga," a song that came from a jam session from Spoon (sans Pope, apparently, since he doesn't receive songwriting credit on this song) and bassist Eddie Robert of I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. It's a funky, groovy, almost neo-soul song, with the rhythm section giving it a delicious groove and makes it engaging. So much that one nearly forgets that Daniel is actually singing... well, maybe from a personal stance.
Next up, the second single "The Underdog," featuring production from Jon Brion (co-produced Kanye West's "Graduation" and produced the canned version of Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine") comes as a surprise from this album, since it sounds very expansive... and almost feels at ends with this album, but manages not to, thankfully. With the horns charging the song and the cool ending of everything coming to chaos (especially with the deafening timpani more than likely coming from multi-instrumentalist Eric Harvey), this song is great, and this begins the fantastic four (no pun intended) ending of the album.
"My Little Japanese Cigarette Case," which the lyrics seems to be a reference to cocaine use (Bring me my Japanese cigarette case, bring a mirror to my face, oh, let all my memories be gone), sounds so minimal compared to "The Underdog" sonically, (this is a great thing, by the way), is a cool little song, and is the shortest TRACK on the album. The penultimate (AKA, the second to last) track on this album, "Finer Feelings," is a hopeful song, which Daniel sings in the chorus that he thinks that he'll find a love that will change his heart and chase his heartache away. Great song, which features a sample from reggae DJ Mikey Dread, and almost feels overlong, since it's the longest song
on the album.
The closer on the album, "Black Like Me" is definitely the ballad of the album, by far. With those heartfelt, desperate first words of the song, "I'm in need of someone to take care of me tonight," one can't help but to feel for Daniel, who seems so lonely that he would "humanize the vacuum." This song is the best song on the album
, and possibly one the best songs of the year (probably would never be a single).
In short, even if you never heard of Spoon until this year, and just looking for a great indie rock album this year, Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga should be on your shortlist.
TheSaneLunatic's Top Five Recommendations:
1. Black Like Me
2. Don't You Evah
3. Finer Feelings
4. Don't Make Me A Target
5. My Little Japanese Cigarette Case