Coherence, your name is Spoon.
For nearly 30 years, the band from Austin, Texas, has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable bands in indie rock. Spoon doesn’t make a bad record – and often makes remarkable ones, playing with sound and form while delivering visceral melodies.
Unfortunately, the “consistent” tag could inadvertently cut off some of the higher highs of the bunch. But, as singer Britt Daniel told the Tribune in 2018, “I think there’s a compliment somewhere behind that, right?”
With Spoon returning to Colombia this month – and new album “Lucifer on the Sofa” in the air – it’s worth revisiting the band’s rocksteady catalog and seeing where their latest effort stands. It is certainly possible to follow Spoon’s excellent track record while celebrating its many moments of innovation and excellence.
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Here’s our unscientific ranking of the band’s 10 albums, before their stop at The Blue Note.
1. “Ga-Ga-Ga-Ga” (2007)
Why is it listed here: It’s hard to go against your first really deep dive into a favorite new band, which “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” provided to me. Beyond mere nostalgia, the record spins gold from seemingly disparate threads of rock and R&B — from Motown and Phil Spector to Billy Joel and Sonic Youth — in a way that’s distinctly and unapologetically Spoon. There is no false note here.
Key tracks: “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”, “Rhythm and Soul”, “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case”, “Finer Feelings”
2. “Gimme Fiction” (2005)
Why is it listed here: Another almost faultless album, “Gimme Fiction” would be the class leader for almost any band. The record is maybe a little more laid back, a little less bold than my number one pick – but not by much. It’s 11 tightly constructed, deceptively funky songs that zigzag and zag enough to keep listeners paying attention.
Key tracks: “The Two Faces of Monsieur Valentine”, “I turn on my camera”, “I invoke you”
3. “They Want My Soul” (2014)
Why is it listed here: Prophetically anxious and, at times, gloriously sarcastic, this is perhaps the most cathartic record in Spoon’s catalogue. “They Want My Soul” achieves a delicate blend of spiraling emotions and sonic space, and features perhaps the best song Spoon has recorded so far. When Daniel grabs the mic and sings “I came home last night / I had no good news” on this track (“Rainy Taxi”), he speaks for so many of us over the past few years.
Key tracks: “Rainy Taxi”, “Have You”, “Outlier”
4. “Burning Thoughts” (2017)
Why is it listed here: Vibrant and colorful, “Hot Thoughts” completes the highest tier of Spoon records with its inventive use of keyboards and some of Jim Eno’s finest drumming – and by expanding and exploding the tension between gasping chaos and breathing, the band first explored “They Want My Soul.”
Key tracks: “Should I tell you about it?” » “Can I sit next to you”, “I’m not the only one”, “We”
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5. “Lucifer on the Couch” (2022)
Why is it listed here: Spoon’s latest feels like a nice distillation of the band’s many moods: sometimes nervous and swaggering, sometimes soulful, and chasing hope to higher notes in yet others. This sense of his own sensibility makes “Lucifer on the Sofa” both his own achievement and a sort of creative climax.
Key tracks: “The Hardest Cut”, “The Devil and Mister Jones”, “My Baby”
6. “Transfer” (2010)
Why is it listed here: A fitting bridge between “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” and “They Want My Soul”, this record finds Spoon developing a wider, weirder sound while keeping the guitars front and center. The songs aren’t as strong as on the albums around it, but “Transference” isn’t a minor project; its textures and sense of adventure praise the whole.
Key tracks: “Before the destruction”, “Is love eternal? » “Written upside down”, “I saw the light”
7. “Kill the Moonlight” (2002)
Why is it listed here: “Kill the Moonlight” is the sound of a band with charisma and ideas that really learn to put all the pieces together. And it includes Spoon’s first track to grab me by the collar and beg me to listen, “The Way We Get By.”
Key tracks: “The Way We Get By”, “Something to Look Forward to”, “Paper Tiger”, “All the Pretty Girls Go to Town”
8. “Girls Can Tell It” (2001)
Why is it listed here: “Girls Can Tell” features Spoon’s first true signature song (“Everything Hits at Once”), topping a tracklist marked by intriguing, atmospheric tunes and fevered guitar jams.
Key tracks: “Hit All at Once”, “Anything You Want”, “Take the Fifth”
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9. “Telephone” (1996)
Why is it listed here: Describing the band’s early days, Heather Phares of AllMusic said “girl-boy harmonies, sharp guitars, and soft dynamic changes are reminiscent of the Pixies, and barring Kim Deal and Frank Black’s reconciliation, Telephono is next.” best thing to a meeting by this group.” Those words are slightly overstating the case, but there’s a spark here that’s more than worth your time.
Key tracks: “Don’t Buy the Realistic”, “Infamous”, “I Wanted to Be Yours”
10. “A Series of Spies” (1998)
Why is it listed here: Daniel and Co. deliver serious doses of courage and guitar on their second project. “A Series of Sneaks” sounds more of its time and place than most of Spoon’s records – but also develops elements that would become crucial to the band’s style.
Key tracks: “The Minor Tough”, “Reservations”, “No You’re Not”, “Advance Cassette”
Spoon performs The Blue Note on Monday April 25 with Margaret Glaspy. The show starts at 8 p.m.; tickets range from $35 to $40. Learn more at https://thebluenote.com/.
Aarik Danielsen is the Features and Culture Editor for Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.