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Ten more things to love about ‘Transference’

January 22, 2010
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Spoon’s latest album Transference is my (very) early favorite for album of the year. But rather than wait to be disappointed by the rest of the music that comes out this year, I have decided to explore every little nook and cranny of Transference and pick out exactly what makes this album so incredible.

Before I get started on this list, however, I must insist that you listen to this album with headphones. I’m not talking cheap earbuds here either. I mean big, around-ear, headphones that are able to accurately recreate the highs and lows of this album as closely as possible. If you have noise-canceling headphones that’s even better. Because honestly, you should be able to completely enjoy this album, unadulterated by roommates, loved ones, pets, etc. There are so many little secrets that can be found within the music that are only evident with by listening with headphones.

10. “Goodnight Laura” – all of it.

Britt Daniel is singing this directly into your ears. He is sitting right next to you on the piano bench gently lifting his voice over the piano. This song is probably the best produced on the album because the mic placement on this song is absolutely perfect. It sounds just like a very intimate live performance. Headphones, once again, a must.

9. “Written in Reverse” – 0:01

This song has been written about to the point of extinction, but those first notes on the piano are magnificent. They are almost too quiet to take notice of, but with those mandatory headphones they are clear as a bell.

8. “The Mystery Zone” 3:51

As the band brings the song back together from a spastic bridge there is a very quiet guitar part hidden under the rest of the music that mimics the bass. It is simple and low key but it accentuates the rest of the song and helps to place the rest of the music in to proper context.

7. “Nobody Gets Me But You” – 4:05

This song never really started out like any other song on this album, but for the last 50 seconds or so, it just goes insane. Reverse delay over chaotic piano and impressive use of stereo panning make these last seconds come completely unhinged.

6. “Who Makes Your Money?” – 1:29

Buried within the tremolo heavy vocals and the rest of the music is the tiniest little synthesizer progression that is simply wonderful. It comes back later in the song, but this first appearance is precious.

5. “Trouble Come Running” 2:20

A quick little strum of the fingers to the right kicks off that last chorus with a bit of a flourish. Lovely.

4. The album artwork

Who is this? Is it a guy or a girl? Why is their torso so small? Why does this photo break so many guidelines for good photography? Why is it so entrancing? I can think of many more questions to ask about this art, and I guess that is why it’s so good. Take a good look at the image, maybe find a bigger one, and really study it. See what you can see.

3. “I Saw The Light” – 2:57

After the song shifts to electronic drums and breaks down there is this creepy voice that is hardly audible that speaks first at 2:57. The voice is deep and almost sounds like a record spun backwards at super low speed. It is all kinds of awesome, much like the laugh. Bonus: how about the balls Spoon has to use a drum machine? Jim Eno is one of the best drummers in rock ‘n’ roll, but they take him out the equation and the song is still awesome. Too cool.

2. “Is Love Forever?” 0:32

Britt Daniel singing “Some ex-girlfriend, call her Heather, whispers to me, “Is love forever?” Daniel is clearly answering the question for us by severely brushing off the former flame asking him the question. It’s pure, simple genius. The whole album seems to be in search of intimacy, and this song epitomizes the futile search perfectly.

1. “I Saw The Light” 0:26

As Daniel sings “I made my case to the world,” he noticeably laughs through the word “world.” Were this song sung by, say, Jenny Lewis, it would be adorable. Since it is not, I guess it’s just awesome.

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