Song of the Day: “I Turn My Camera On”

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Today we’ll once again be looking at one more song from Spoon’s upcoming greatest hits album. Our song of the day is “I Turn My Camera On”, and comes from Spoon’s 2005 album, “Gimme Fiction”.

So far this week, we’ve looked at three other songs that will appear on “Everything Hits at Once”, Spoon’s greatest hits compilation album set to be released on July 26th. Monday, we talked about the lead single and only new track to make the album, “No Bullets Spent”. Tuesday, we looked at “The Underdog” from the 2007 album, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”. And yesterday, we listened to “Hot Thoughts”, another lead single from Spoon’s 2017 album of the same name.

Today, we’re going back a little further in Spoon’s discography, as we wanted to present as wide of an overview as we could, so as to see the stylistic differences between each song we cover.

So before we get into the song itself, let’s first take a look at the album it appeared on.

Gimme Fiction

“Gimme Fiction” was Spoon’s fifth studio album, released on Merge Records in 2005. In terms of reception, it was one of Spoon’s most popular and critically acclaimed albums of their career. On Metacritic, “Gimme Fiction” has a meta score of 84, with a user score of 8.8, crediting it with “universal acclaim”.

In terms of commercial success, “Gimme Fiction” debuted at No. 44 on the Billboard 200. “I Turn My Camera On” was released as a single for the album, and it is still one of Spoon’s most popular songs.

“Gimme Fiction” also had a number of songs that went on to appear in a number of television shows and movies. These included shows like Scrubs, The Simpsons, Veronica Mars, and Bones, as well as the movies “(500) Days of Summer”, and “Stranger than Fiction”.

I Turn My Camera On

“I Turn My Camera On” was the only single released for “Gimme Fiction”, and is placed as the third track on the album.

As a standalone track, the song’s tone and style are a bit different than what Spoon usually puts out. For one, it’s one of the few songs in which lead singer Britt Daniel brings in his falsetto for the whole song. It’s also one of their more pop-infused tracks, consisting of a simple and catchy melody, heavy beat, and repeated phrases.

Despite its simplicity and pop-aesthetic, Spoon shows with “I Turn My Camera On” that they’re more than capable of delivering big hits that can go on to earn countless radio plays and pop culture appearances. And in Spoon’s version of a pop hit, they still bring their ear for producing interesting and satisfying musical compositions, as well as a minor dose of dissonance to keep things interesting.

Lyrics

The lyrics to “I Turn My Camera On” deal with the act of cutting oneself off from their feelings, and the internal struggle that accompanies that decision. With such an upbeat and happy track, the subject matter of the lyrics provides a nice contrast.

Let’s take a look at the first verse.

“I turn my camera on
I cut my fingers on the way
The way I’m slippin away
I turn my feelings off
Y’made me untouchable for life
And you wasn’t polite”

Here, we can see that the narrator turning his camera on is equated with turning his feelings off. In this interpretation, the camera acts as a barrier between the narrator and the rest of the world. Camera lenses let you focus on and capture moments in time, but also distort and limit your vision.  So here, the narrator is maybe suggesting that whoever made him “untouchable for life” forced this change that resulted in him limiting his experience and connection with the world.

In another verse, we see the narrator moving away from this way of thinking.

“When I turn my feelings on
I turn my feelings on inside
Feel like I’m gonna ignite”

But in between verses, a background singer chips in occassionally with these lines.

“Keep on blowin up
Keep on blowin em off
Get up roll it out
Keep on showin em out”

This is where we’re presented with the internal struggle, which comes in the form of another voice telling the narrator to continue cutting himself off from the rest of the world. It represents the unhealthy side of his psyche, and in a sense, the whole song can be seen as one internal argument over whether or not to open himself up to the world.

Final Thoughts

That about wraps up our discussion for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed our week long look at some of the songs that will appear on Spoon’s upcoming greatest hits compilation, “Everything Hits at Once”.

We’ll be back next week with a fresh list of new songs.

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