Album Review: Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Matador Records, 2017]
Rating: 7.5/10

Key Tracks: “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” “Pink Up,” “Hot Thoughts”

Hot Thoughts is American rock band Spoon’s ninth album since they entered the rock scene in 1993. This album brings the alternative-psychedelic feel of their earlier albums while still feeling fresh.

The title track “Hot Thoughts” is catchy and fun with relatable lyrics, thinking about that hot girl who is never named, but you know who she is. It moves directly into “WhisperI’lllistentohearit,” almost like the two are the same song. It has driving drums and a banging guitar and bass riff. “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” features poppy electronic background and strong consistent drumming. It pairs with “First Caress,” almost as if they are telling a story about a couple who just got together for the first time. “First Caress” also matches the style of “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” with similar beats and electronic themes.

With soft drumming and a keyboard intro, “Pink Up” gives about a six-minute break from the more instrumentally packed rest of the album. The track constantly threatens to become faster and fuller, but it never does, keeping a precarious balance. It also showcases the versatility of Spoon, and their ability to craft such a delicate track.

The four tracks of the album between “Pink Up” and “Us” have a distinctly pop-rock feel. “Can I Sit Next to You” has a rolling guitar riff, almost reminiscent of early Maroon 5. In “Shotgun,” the lead singer sings about how “You’re the one who brought a shotgun,” to something that could have been solved without violence, and how that escalated everything. It’s unbelievably simple and catchy.

“Us” finishes the album with a saxophone intro, echoing the softness of “Pink Up,” before moving into a more dissonant theme with a drum entrance for an overall creepy feel. At the halfway point, there is silence, and then the saxophones begin a repetitive duet. It’s purely instrumental even to the last second of the album. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t match the rest of the album in style or instrumentation and seems like it’s a part of a different record altogether.

Overall, most of Hot Thoughts is cohesive and enjoyable. Many of the singles from the album are successful, especially in their use of electronic sound and drum riffs. Just don’t get too caught up with some of their more unconventional tracks.

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