On my drive to work, just before I arrive at the mighty Borders #653, there’s a giant hideous electronic billboard, which cycles through a number of ads in regular succession. This of course is a massive technological leap forward from the basic Stuff Painted On Wood system that was the basis for the traditional billboard, and indeed for just about every sign since the first Trespassers were warned about their imminent Prosecution, and the first Employees were admonished to Wash Hands. This crazy electric thing of course has to cost a lot more, and thus is automatically cooler, in a very lame and sad kind of way. We’re supposed to feel like we’re living in Blade Runner—and why would that be a good thing, anyway?—but ads are just…ads. Banal or oppressive, no matter how much processing power goes into them.
Except when somebody exercises poor judgment. Then you might get something disturbing enough to be entertaining. One of the paying customers for this particular eyesore is some sort of dentist’s office, and he or she or they want to make you feel insecure about your hideous teeth, and think about how much more successful and loved you’d be if they got cleaned up and straightened. But the slogan they’ve chosen is a problem: “Teeth,” it says. “The Ultimate Accessory.” Wait, accessory? Yeah, I guess, if you’re some kind of war criminal, or marauding Viking! And the woman on the sign looks so happy; it’s very unsettling to think about the enormous necklace of molars that she’s wearing, even if you can’t quite see it in the photo.
Song of the Day
“Something to Look Forward To”
I have to say: this is going pretty well! My first two randomly selected songs have been entirely awesome, and the casual reader could very well conclude that I’m just being totally and painfully Hipper Than Thou, at least for Perrysburg OH. But fear not—my hard drive is plenty well-stocked with the bizarre and the determinedly square, and anybody who keeps checking will see some of it eventually. (I’m promising myself that I’m going to exercise the Executive Song Veto only in the direst cases, or what’s the point?) So stick around and you’re bound to see some 10,000 Maniacs, or perhaps “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
So here’s Spoon, meanwhile, with a tight little tune. Probably my favorite song on my least favorite album of theirs, if that makes any sense. Kill the Moonlight is where they stripped their ultra-cool pop down to the bone, and even if you feel forty-seven percent more With It while it’s playing, sometimes you feel like it’s a bit…ungenerous. So it’s appropriate that we’re looking at this particular song, a paean to the pleasures of delayed gratification. Two minutes, seventeen seconds, on an album where no song hits four minutes. Britt Daniel, in his breathy little Soulful White Guy yelp, warns somebody named “Carole” not to get ahead of herself, because he’ll take it “anywhere you let me go.” Not sure if this is meant to be some kind of Reverse Psychology gambit that’s actually supposed to get Mr. Daniel laid sooner rather than later.
But here you’ve got the essence of the Spoon sound, for better or for worse. That beautiful little stripped-down groove, for a few bars with just a little piano and that falsetto croon, then some stinging little guitar hits and you just know it’s building up to something, then at forty seconds it just unfolds for a second, all that funkiness relaxing into the Big Rock arpeggios, and you’re nodding your head, you’re happy, and here’s the chorus, and…wait, that was it? More drum and bass, no melody to speak of, no big payoff, and you’re left wondering if that was supposed to be the point, if you’re a sap for wanting more. “So many things we could say,” as Britt says, but “some things are best left unsaid.”
Also, only a Spoon song would include a line about “your Chicago Manual of Style.” Though at that point Daniel is laying on the Soulfulness so thick that I had absolutely no idea that that was what he was saying until just now. Huh.