Happy Friday, LemonWire readers! Today, we’ll be looking at our last song from Spoon for the week, “Finer Feelings”.
This week, we’ve been looking at songs each day from Spoon’s upcoming greatest hits compilation, “Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon”. We took a look at the single, “No Bullets Spent”, that was released to promote the album, along with a handful of others from albums spanning Spoon’s career.
But our song of the day today, while still written by Spoon, won’t be included on “Everything Hits at Once”. This is a song I personally feel should have made the greatest hits album as the fourteenth track.
But before we get too far into the song itself, let’s take a look at the album it comes from.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon’s sixth studio album, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” was released in 2007 on Merge records to critical and commercial acclaim. It debuted as No. 10 on the Billboard Top 200, and No. 1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums.
While the only single released for “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” was “The Underdog”, the album is packed with single-quality material. Of these are songs like “Don’t Make Me a Target”, You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”, “Don’t You Evah”, and “Finer Feelings”. Two of those four made the cut to be included in “Everything Hits At Once”. But “Don’t Make Me a Target” and “Finer Feelings” (two of Spoon’s best songs) were left out.
Let’s take a closer look at “Finer Feelings”, to understand why it didn’t make the cut. The simple answer, of course, would be that Spoon has a lot of quality content across their nine studio albums, and picking and choosing what to include in a best-of compilation is no doubt a fraught process. Still, that won’t stop us from doing our due diligence.
On a first listen, “Finer Feelings” sounds like a typical Spoon song. It’s driven by a strong beat and bass line, includes their trademark minimalist but excellent guitar, Britt Daniel’s ever-present delivery and poignant lyrics, and experimental compositional elements. It’s got all the ingredients of a hit single, and is totally representative of Spoon as a band.
Three minutes into the song, there’s even a Beatles-esque inclusion of a hauntingly repetitive piano mixed with a live recording of what sounds like a crowd at a baseball game. As the song builds back up from there, the synth and keyboard effects start to slowly seep into the outro.
The lyrics in “Finer Feelings” deal with hustling toward a moonshot dream, as well as filling a whole in the heart by finding love. Let’s take a look at the first verse, and see what we’re dealing with.
“Memphis comes creeping down my back
Somehow this place tastes just like an attack
A hundred-yard-stare of a kiss
Lord, I know I’ll never miss it
They told me stop scouting the field
They told me have a look in commercial appeal
And start getting that hair cut sharp”
The context we’re given in the first verse sets up memories of the narrator’s time living in Memphis, Tennessee, maybe brought on by a recent visit to the city. The second half of this verse might deal with relationships with a band manager, or record label, who, in an effort to make good on their investment, try to push the band to “commercial appeal”.
“Sometimes I think that I’ll find a love
One that’s gonna change my heart
I’ll find it in commercial appeal
And then this heartache’ll get chased away”
The chorus here focuses on the feeling of longing, as well as wishful thinking that the narrator will become a better person by simply jumping into a relationship. The line, “I’ll find it in commercial appeal” reads almost ironically, as if he realizes that changing himself for the success of the band only takes him farther away from easing his heartache.
While “Finer Feelings” is one of my personal favorite songs by Spoon, its more experimental moments may be better suited for fans who are more familiar with their sound. But looking back over the track list to “Everything Hits at Once”, it’s clear that Spoon isn’t afraid to include some more experimental songs. However, only one of them hits the five-minute mark, with the next longest at 4-minutes.
I guess it comes down to catering the compilation album for a wide audience. And adding another five minute song could slow down the digestibility of the compilation’s quick and easy meal.
That about does it for our week of immersion with Spoon. I hope I was able to convert some of you out there into fans. If not, well, that’s just your loss, isn’t it?