Upon opening the inside booklet to Spoon’s latest album, you will find the simple, bold statement: “This Record is a Hit.” And after a few listens, it’s clear that this is quite true. But what else would you expect from the people who have brought us songs like “I Turn My Camera On” and “The Way We Get By”? Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga certainly has enough groove to be a hit, but it also has enough darkness and obscurity to avoid being classified as a full-blown pop album. Such a musical balance is something that Spoon has become quite notorious for.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, like all Spoon albums, is a bit alienating at first. Many songs are simply too heavily produced to fully appreciate right off the bat. But then, like a good red wine, it tastes steadily better. This effect can be frustrating and even a complete turn off for first time listeners of the band, yet it is also extremely intoxicating by the end. For whatever reason, front man Britt Daniel seems to enjoy writing songs for the true music freaks – the ones who’ll put on their headphones and listen over and over until every last note and hook is absorbed. His songs are thick with layer after layer of meticulous production, and the hipsters savor every moment of it.
Behind all the studio devilry, Daniel’s lyrics remain genuine. “I’m in need of someone to take care of me tonight,” he states gently on “Finer Feelings.” And although this album is a grower, there are still tracks that are immediately accessible. The triumphant “The Underdog” swings along with strumming guitar and a gorgeous brass section while telling the tale of the little guy coming out on top. And the peppy “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” includes a brass and keyboard driven groove worthy of Diana Ross and the Supremes.
It’s not just songs like these that make the album a hit but the band’s ability to balance them with deeper tracks. Spoon’s sound seems constantly on the threshold between big pop and obscure underground, and it’s truly a joy to hear such balance.