If the way to get through 2017 without going completely nuts is to dance our asses off, Spoon has us covered. On their ninth studio album Hot Thoughts, Spoon doesn’t lose what makes them Spoon, but they’re definitely taking some risks and having plenty of fun doing it. Weird, trippy instrumentals and spaced out vocals from Britt Daniel keep Hot Thoughts fresh and interesting. It is a sonically dramatic and thought-provoking record with the same tight and sharp song construction we’ve come to expect from Spoon, but with more intrigue and a strong element of fantasy.
Hot Thoughts could easily be described as a dance record on the surface, but it definitely should not be reduced to just that. It is packed with plenty of groove-worthy beats, like the pulse-pounding “Shotgun” and the sultry, funk-pop romance of “Can I Sit Next To You.” “First Caress” is practically begging to be played in a dark room with ample strobe lights and space to dance, with its twinkling keys and Jim Eno’s driving percussion. “WhisperI’lllistentohearit” feels like Daniel is channeling Bowie, and it looks damn good on him.
There is an intensity and urgency that Spoon does so well here, as though each song has glitter pumping through its veins. It is flashy, but never cheap or vapid. Hot Thoughts is dark and brooding as much as it is fun and energetic. The dreamy saxophone-led instrumental “Us” stands out for its moody and sensual tone. It closes out the record with a mystifying, breathtaking climax.
With Hot Thoughts, Spoon has also given us a strong pop-rock collection full of earworm choruses and thoughtful songwriting. The Austinites are low-key consistent in their offerings, and there are a handful of classic Spoon-sounding tracks on Hot Thoughts. The standout is “Tear it Down”, a glowing, piano-driven rock anthem empowering people to come together in the face of adversity and these fear-mongering times. “Let them build a wall around us/I don’t care we’re gonna tear it down,” Daniel sings with his sauntering confidence. Hear, hear.