A lot of the albums that I’ve given the “essential” label represent a sound that’s proven to be influential and innovative, so that knowing their place within alternative music is important for the sake of understanding the genre. By this definition Kill the Moonlight by Spoon doesn’t fit in with the category because it didn’t change much of anything; but it’s still a must-listen album because of how easily lovable it is and it’s role of representation for a band that doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Metacritic named Spoon the top artist of the 2000’s because of how consistently great their records were, and I still firmly believe that Britt Daniel has the coolest voice that you’ll find in the genre, but Spoon is rarely mentioned among the elite alt-rock bands from the past decade for some reason. That’s why Kill The Moonlight is extremely important, within a terrific discography this is the album that has an iconic claim to it and will likely define the career in the future of a band who deserves to be remembered.
Spoon is guitar-based rock with some mixed in keyboards and acoustics in the process found in tracks like “Paper Tiger” and album closer “Vittorio E”. Kill The Moonlight presents itself beautifully from track to track, as some tracks on the album are present for the sake of reclaiming energy while creating a new transition moreso than making a statement and these get spaced out perfectly. A good example of this is how tracks “Stay Don’t Go” and “Someone Something” sandwich two of my favorite Spoon tracks in “Jonathan Fisk” and “Paper Tiger”, creating a sense of progression between tunes while constantly re-capturing your attention in a similar manner to “Heavy Metal Drummer”‘s role on earlier covered album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The album passes by before you even realize it because they avoided having a lull period on it.
The biggest thing that Spoon has going for it is that Britt Daniel sounds genuine as the lead singer despite the unique usage of voice. His rallying cries present him as the most average amazingly cool person ever, captured in the opening lyrics to “The Way We Get By” with “We get high in the backseat of cars”. It’s not a cheap throw-away line or song, it’s a true representation for a lot of kids in their twenties who turn to drugs in order to feel some sense of escapism. The act itself is cheap and everyone would pretty much acknowledge that, but it has a necessary feel to it that Daniel remains aware of and defends. “Paper Tiger” is another good example of this as it is the least Spoon-rock like track on the album, a song that presents itself as a one-sided conversation culminating in the lyrics “We could go kick down some doors together/Stay out til’ morning, sharp as knives/The new world will get you/It will not protect you/But I will be there with you when you turn out the lights”. The fact that the song fits on the record is odd in itself because of the message and different vibe it carries, but it helps the album that works as catchy and energetic-rock not be limited to it.
Kill The Moonlight didn’t change the genre much, but it found it’s place in pop-culture and stands out as one of the best alt-rock albums released in the 2000’s. This is because it’s such an easily likable album that can boast numerous terrific qualities while transitioning between tracks so well. Spoon is still together now and have a consistently great discography outside of this album as well as a 2013 release due later in the year, and Britt Daniel is also one of the lead singers of the supergroup Divine Fits that emerged last year.
Track Picks: Jonathan Fisk, The Way We Get By, Don’t Let It Get You Down