Fairly positive tension…
Peter Parrish: I guess I need to hear more Spoon. So much seems RIGHT here; near-intangible stuff like the ‘space’ between instruments and the way everything drops out for the (pretty simple, really) bassline exactly when it needs to. I love how those short, prickly guitar lines keep coming back in for another go. Great. Marvellous. Other positive adjectives.
Michaelangelo Matos: Sounds a little like a retreat from the Technicolor Mod-soul of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga; at first I was ready to dismiss it as a regression back to the Telephono days, when they were really, really into the Pixies, but it’s far craftier than that. If it’s a signpost for the next album (beyond being first out), I’m still intrigued, if not quite as excited.
John M. Cunningham: Ordinarily, I’d want to fault a song like this for not having enough of a hook to hang onto, but Spoon is so good at creating nervous, smoldering tension — a tightly wound buzzsaw guitar here, an insistently plinking piano there — that I can’t help but be reeled in, anyway. Not entirely sure why the title is spelled as though it were a Porgy and Bess cast-off, but whatever.
Hillary Brown: You know how you can totally respect the craft and see how people would like something without really being into it yourself and, in fact, end up a little annoyed with yourself because it feels like you’ve missed something entirely? That’s how I feel about pretty much every Spoon song. This one, for example, sounds like warmed-over Sonic Youth mushed together with a bit of Pavement and The Kinks, and it just sort of chugs along being very Ray Davies in its vocals until it transitions into something much less interesting. Shmeh.
Chuck Eddy: Drum opening briefly recalls “My Sharona,” then it turns into, what, a more gruff New Order? Plenty of “interesting” “elements”, tastefully presented. Yes, there is an audible beat, and a singer with blood running through his arteries. But the former doesn’t propel or dance, and the latter doesn’t put over the words.
Martin Skidmore: I really wish the Gang of Four were less of an influence these days. There are lots of spiky post-punk guitar acts vaguely like them, and I don’t like any of them. Spoon are better than most, and there is an obsessive Joy Divisionesque quality to this (especially the bassline), which gives it some force. This is not a great fit with a love song, which is what this is, but it’s one of the more palatable singles of its genre I’ve heard in a while.
Iain Mew: Has an odd tension that comes from constantly being on the verge of letting rip into something raucous but never actually doing so. Tension doesn’t do nearly enough to support a rather slight song, but rarely has it been so easy to imagine the better song that a record could be.
Alfred Soto: For Britt Daniel, minimalism isn’t just a strategy: it’s a belief in the Trinity of eternal recurrence. Expecting him to “loosen up” is like begging Christopher Hitchens to attend Mass once a week. Even singing this (relatively) straight love/lust song, he lets his guitar do his emoting – a guitar whose tone matches his starchy, high voice in a synergy that’ll sustain him longer than any relationship. Hell isn’t other people – it’s leaving the studio for a soda.
Anthony Miccio: This felt like a belated nu-wave radio sell-out, which would have been peculiar enough, until I realized the true novelty: Spoon has never rocked this hard at such a rigid tempo. They’ve blitzed (“Jonathan Fisk”) and they’ve lurched (“Not Turning Off”), but here Jim Eno holds them to a robotic pulse no matter how forcefully the guitars pull against it. If Britt Daniel’s vocal reservations didn’t make his pleas of “nothing to lose” painfully ironic, this could actually be a nu-wave radio sell-out.
Jonathan Bradley: Britt Daniel and pals have a steady backbeat and an attractively filthy guitar tagging along, but not only does the chug fail to go anywhere, unlike their best singles, it doesn’t sound like it’s brimming with an energy the band can barely contain. Spoon always act in miniature, but turning the microscope on “Got Nuffin'” reveals not much more than a proficiently-manipulated groove.