By its third record, 2001â€™s heartfelt and immaculate Girls Can Tell, Spoon stopped sounding like the sum of its influences (namely, Guided by Voices, the Pixies, and Nirvana) and actually created the outline of a sound that it adheres to to this day. Succinct arrangements, spiky guitars, and minimal beats have served Spoon well over the course of three records, but something had to change to avoid a musical stalemate.
After Gimme Fiction it seemed as though Spoon had exhausted every angle of its own template, so the future looked questionable. The band could have easily repeated itself, remaining in a comfortable zone of hooky, off-kilter pop or embraced the dark underbelly of some of Gimme Fictionâ€™s more esoteric, dirge-like compositions, which would probably have alienated much of its fanbase.
Instead, Spoon retained its core minimalist ethos and simply improved its songwriting skills. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is Spoonâ€™s sixth record and might even be its best. Each song is so carefully crafted and well-honed that it flows with the ease of a classic album. Britt Danielâ€™s vocal range may be stuck in an affected post-Elvis Costello strain, but he knocks out so many hooks and killer melodies that his skill as a vocalist is never in question.
While Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga utilizes Spoonâ€™s most eclectic instrumentation to date, it never sounds forced or like the band is trying too hard to do something new. Britt Daniel and Jim Eno are such meticulous craftsmen that a Spoon song rarely outstays its welcome. Even an obvious, self-referential hook like that of the coarse opener, â€œDonâ€™t Make Me a Targetâ€, sets a confident yet nostalgic tone aimed at making the transition from the last record to this one as smooth and seamless as possible.
The experimental escapism of â€œThe Ghost of You Lingersâ€ serves as an atmospheric trifle. Its fleeting, fragmented nature defies Spoonâ€™s entire MO, but it works because it concisely sets a mood without dragging its feet. After that itâ€™s honestly one pop gem after another. Daniel crams so many catchy hooks into each song that the record flies by, and youâ€™ll immediately be hard-pressed not to start the whole damn thing over again.
Thereâ€™s an inherently retro feel to much Ga
Itâ€™s obvious Spoon was hyper-aware of the trappings of repeating itself in the studio and Ga Ga Ga Ga Gaâ€™s wide-ranging assortment of unorthodox sounds is evidence. Even though the tools with which the band speaks have changed, the quality of its songwriting has only gained momentum, making Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga a shoe-in for top ten lists at yearâ€™s end.