Spoon reflects on their hit songs in the Rolling Stone podcast
Spoon frontman Britt Daniel, drummer Jim Eno and guitarist Alex Fischel sat down in our SiriusXM studios for a recent episode of Rolling Stone Music Now, where they broke down songwriting throughout their careers, entering their new compilation of the greatest hits, Everything strikes at once: the best of Spoon. Some highlights follow; to listen to the full discussion, tap play below or download and subscribe on iTunes or Spotify.
Elvis Costello and Motown helped Spoon completely reinvent their sound between their second and third albums.
âWe didn’t think anything was cooler than Wire,â says Daniel. âAnd we didn’t really want to go beyond that. The summer that [second album] A series of deviousness came out of. My girlfriend Eleanor [Friedberger] had this bunch of Become happy by Elvis Costello, and I had never heard this record before. And so I started making all of these connections between New Wave and Motown and the oldies radio station, which became the only station I wanted to listen to for some reason. And all of these things kinda combined in this new sound that Girls can say become. “
âThe Way We Get Byâ was built around the piano part.
âThe piano was the same part on the demo,â explains Daniel. âAnd I think we just started this one recording the piano, and then Jim recorded his thing. It was the way we did things on this record [2002âs Kill the Moonlight] because I think we recorded it in three actual weeks of recording.
“Don’t You Evah” is actually a cover.
âIt’s a song from Natural History, a band from New York,â says Daniel. âAnd we toured with them several times in the early 2000s, and became good friends with them. And so I wrote [2005âs] Give me some fiction when Max [Tepper], the main songwriter, was writing his next album. And so we would swap tapes, just to hear what the other person was thinking or working on. And he sent me some songs, and I think I liked them all. But it was my favorite. And I decided to put some percussion and guitar ideas on it and send it back to him. And I was like, this is it, but two years later that song still hadn’t come out. They had problems with the band, and they had a hard time finishing the record, maybe finding a label. And so when we were working on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, we needed another song like we always do. And I said, I know this one which is a hit and no one else knows!
They had no idea “The Underdog” would be a big song for them.
âWe almost gave up on the case,â says Daniel. âThe rest of the album was pretty dub-y, with reverb, a lot of effects. [Producer Jon Brion] contributed a lot to this recording; he played bass on it and he played baritone guitar. This is what is closest to a Prince-style musician that I have known personally.
It took a while for âYou Got Yr Cherry Bombâ to be correct.
The band first recorded a âspace-rockâ version with Brion that didn’t work, then came up with a piano-based arrangement that their other producer, Mike McCarthy, didn’t like. âAnd then I took a writing trip alone up the Oregon coast for a week,â Daniel says, âand listened to the best of the Supremes while I was driving over there, and I was said, ‘It must be something over there.’ So I’m sort of made more of that kind of band.
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