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Monday, July 09, 2007

Spoon: "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"

There are very few bands around today that can consistently put out decent album after decent album. Spoon is one of the bands that can. "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is the band's follow-up to 2005's stellar "Gimme Fiction." With a band like Spoon, you have to be expecting a lot, especially after such a great album. So does "Ga x5" live up to the expectations? You'll have to keep reading to figure out my verdict (or just scroll down to the bottom).

The album begins with the inexplicably infectious "Don't Make Me a Target," in which Britt Daniel simply sings the song's title as the chorus. With such a simple hook, one would think that the song would not be as memorable as it actually is. However, the song is a great lead-off track, and definitely gets the listener hooked immediately. It is a perfect showcase for the album's two greatest assets: Daniel's voice and flawless production. Unfortunately, any momentum that was started by the lead-off track is immediately squandered by the song that follows it. "The Ghost of You Lingers" is a shockingly plain song, with only repetitive 8th-note piano phrases and vocals to show. The song seems to exist for the sole purpose allowing the band to say "Hey, listen to all the cool things we did to this song in the studio! Hear that? That's called reverb!" It is a distraction, and just plain not worth listening to.

"You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" picks up the pace and helps you forget what just happened. The song features some extra instrumentation courtesy of a saxophone and finds Britt singing "Life could be so fair, let it go on along" in a beautiful falsetto. The song is a fun affair and sure to be a hit at the band's live shows. It's followed by my favorite track on "Ga x5," the funky and soulful "Don't You Evah" that utilizes an awesome bass line to keep the groove going for the song's entirety.

"Rhythm and Soul" is a fairly decent pop rock song, but at the same time it seems utterly throwaway. It's fragile and utterly unmemorable vocal melody is really only bolstered by the band's instrumentation, but even then I only got a few good listens out of it before skipping over it. "Eddie's Ragga" is in a similar predicament. While it's not necessarily a bad song, it just gets lost in the rest of the album.

Fortunately, Spoon is smart enough to pick the pace back up, and they do so flawlessly with "Underdog," arguably the strongest song on the album. The song is truly one of Spoon's all-time best, complete with trumpets and off-beat hand claps. Again, Britt's vocals are unbelievably effective when he sings "You aren't here for the messenger. Don't want to know 'bout something that you don't understand. You got no fear of the underdog, that's why you will not survive!" Everything about this one is great and "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" really climaxes here.

"My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" is another song that could get lumped into the "forgettable" category. It has a pretty solid guitar part and a chorus that is almost there, bordering on greatness. "Finer Feelings" once again brings things back to a respectable level, with some catchy "do do doos," another great guitar part, and a spot-on vocal melody. "Black Like Me" is exceptionally well produced and it ends the album on a positive note. Though the song may start out sounding like your standard end-of-album ballad, it soon builds into a welcomed upbeat closer.

"Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is a fairly decent accomplishment from a band like Spoon. There are truly a few moments on the album that are "wow" inducing. At the same time, there are other times where you're bound to be scratching your head. While none of the songs on
"Ga x5" are downright terrible, the album as a whole is incredibly hit and miss. It's amazing highs are weakened only by it's forgettable lows. Expect the album to be really great the first time through, only to slowly fade away from your good graces after several listens. "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is a good, fun album, but the fun won't last forever. Enjoy it while you can, for there are truly some awesome songs on it.

Key Track:
1. "Don't Make Me a Target"
2. "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"
3. "Don't You Evah"
4. "The Underdog"
5. "Finer Feelings"

6 out of 10 Stars

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