Spoon’s latest album Transference has everything I like about Spoon. It features Britt Daniel’s cool vocals, and the band’s pop infused indie rock sound with sometimes funky dance beats. The question it seems is what is this album all about?
Meriam-Webster defines transference as “the redirection of feelings and desires and especially of those unconsciously retained from childhood toward a new object (as a psychoanalyst conducting therapy).” Redirection could be the key word here. If after listening to the album you don’t get it, then maybe you need a psychoanalyst (joking people).
The point is there is a lot of redirection on this album. The album starts slow but emotionally with the droning “Before Destruction.” In this song the lead has clearly been wronged and wants to give some of that pain back. Don’t listen if you’re in the middle of a break-up. All pain will be transferred to you.
In “Is Love Forever?” the pace picks up and the tone turns to anger. The ex-girlfriend that breaks your heart says to you five years later, “what ever happened to us?” In this tune the ex-girlfriend, call her Heather, is mocked for asking “is love forever?” as if she didn’t know she was the one who ended the love affair. Again, pain is transferred from one individual to a another, albeit indirectly.
“The Mystery Zone” is upbeat and nostalgic yet mysterious (hence the name). I takes us to a place that can’t be described easily. It may be that zone where everything goes as expected, but not necessarily as desired. Spoon illustrates it with metaphors that contradict each other. The mystery zone is a place where love is found, but so is trouble. It’s a place where everything can go right and wrong, and awareness of either only comes later. You weren’t there, but you were. Daniels sings, again, to a former love perhaps. He is nostalgic for the times they met, but she doesn’t understand why. This song is one of my faves.
“Who Makes Your Money” is just odd in a good way. It’s very mellow to start, then hits a high speed instrumental in the middle, only to end mellow again. I can only guess what its about. Does it condemn someone for having a sugar daddy?
Another of my favorites is “Written In Reverse.” It has some of the funky elements of “Underdog” from their album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. A great song. Don’t waste any energy trying to figure it out, just enjoy.
“I Saw The Light” is what happens to us all when we realize we’re being wronged by the one we thought we loved. Musically, there’s a sense of relief, and then an ending with some funky keyboards and driving guitar to show some anger. It ends with a bar or two of gentle keyboards to express just a bit of sadness. This song ranks among the better ones on the album.
“Trouble Comes Running” is my favorite song on the album. Perhaps because I’m always getting myself into trouble. For this song, though, trouble always seems to find the protagonist. I think he’s transferring responsibility (I see a theme). This song is fast and fun.
The album jumps to “Goodnight Laura.” It’s a soft, pretty ballad; it’s out of place though. We never learn why Laura needs to be sung asleep. Add it to your slow play list.
“Out Go the Lights” is another nostalgic song about a love from some other time. The song reminds the lost love that she should be nostalgic too.Its slightly sad. It’s mellow with a few bright spots. There has to be something to long for.
“Got Nuffin” is an upbeat rock and roll song about the benefits of ending a relationship. I’ve go nothing to lose but darkness and shadows. Got nothing to lose but emptiness and hang-ups. Sometimes the best redirections are right out the door. Drop that baggage.
The album closes with “Nobody Gets Me But You.” It’s dominated by a funky bass line that will make your head bob while you sit in traffic. It’s another one of my faves.
I must really like this album. I’ve listened to it more than any other in my collection since I picked this up a couple of weeks ago. I’ve liked every Spoon album I’ve owned, and every song I’ve heard. Pick up Transference. You will enjoy it.
Listen to the whole album at Spoon’s official site.