Spoon has been scooping out hits for more than two decades, and now the indie rock royalty has put out its first greatest hits collection — complete with a brand new single that fits perfectly within the band’s catalog. Dubbed Everything Hits At Once, the album serves a two-fold purpose, depending on how you come at this record. Frontman Britt Daniel says was initially skeptical of culling their output down to a greatest hits set, but came to realize it’s one of the oldest and best ways to introduce new fans to a catalog that can be intimidating to jump into without any direction.
“[A]t some point I remembered that when I got my first Cure record it was Standing on a Beach. When I got my first New Order record, it was Substance,” Daniel explained via NPR. “That was how I met those bands, and I moved backwards from there but I still listen to those comps.”
Out now on digital, vinyl and CD, Everything Hits At Once assembles 12 singles and deeper cuts from Spoon’s catalog of material dating back to 2001’s acclaimed Girls Can Tell, plus a new single. Earlier, late 1990’s albums Telephono and A Series of Sneaks are not represented in the collection. Considering the record is spotlighting tunes from seven albums — most of which are deep with several great songs — the set does a good job of spotlighting the best of the best. Though, fans will surely complain there are plenty of other songs that could’ve made the cut.
Though they obviously capture most of the hits, this record really serves more as a sampler for Spoon’s vibe. It’s sharp guitars, a bit of jangly pop, clever lyrics and beats that will stick in your head for days. Gimme Fiction’s “I Turn My Camera On” and “Everything Hits At Once” hold things together for OG fans, along with “The Way We Get By” from Kill the Moonlight. More modern favorites like 2017’s “Hot Thoughts” and “Do You” from 2014’s They Want My Soul round out the collection, buoyed by a few cuts from 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and others.
To that end, Everything Hits At Once is the perfect entry point for fans who have never really gotten into Spoon. It hits the highlights, teases the deep cuts, and provides a clear window into what type of sound and feel you’ll find depending on whichever album you might want to dig into next. Put simply, it’s a gateway drug to Spoon’s deep catalog over the past few decades.
Thankfully, there’s also a little something for fans who’ve already rocked out to all those albums over the past few years. The band’s first new release since 2017, the single “No Bullets Spent,” rounds out the retrospective. The song blends the usual sound fans have come to know and love with a modern tale about economic woes and gun culture. It’s clever, timely and (not surprisingly) very catchy to boot.
Alice Cooper – Breadcrumbs EP
Few frontmen of rock will ever be as enigmatic and as timeless as Alice Cooper
For a large number of Alice Cooper fans who didn’t experience everyone’s favorite snake-adorned shock rocker at the height of his powers through the ’70s, most probably were introduced to Cooper through 1989’s hair-metal infused generational breakout album Trash. That was at least, my introduction to Vincent Furnier, at the age of 9 years old, seeking for something to satiate my love of hair metal and shock rock. Trash was everything Bon Jovi’s New Jersey was- big, radio-friendly- but had that added sense of danger and darkness that didn’t come with the pretty side of hair metal. However, as sure as songs like “House of Fire“, “Bed of Nails“, and the ubiquitous hit “Poison”, are still great today, long-time Alice Cooper fans know that Cooper is at his most enthralling is when he taps into his garage rock lineage, cut from the same mold that was paved by bands like the MC5.
So for those born in the early 80s like myself, the initial foray into the world of Alice Cooper meant that you had to work your way back into this long-running discography to find the rich, often timeless work Cooper is best known for. In 2019 Alice Cooper himself is working his way back on his latest EP, the aptly titled Breadcrumbs. The 6-song EP finds Cooper revisiting music and artists connected thematically by what ties them all together- the Motor City. This Detroit-centric EP features Alice Cooper’s take on songs by Suzi Quatro, The Dirtbombs, Motown soul singer Shorty Long, and of course, The MC5 (the EP also features guest guitar and vocal work from Wayne Kramer). Included in the mix are a reworked version of the 2003 Alice Cooper song “Detroit City” and one new cut, “Go Man Go”.
On his reworked “Detroit City”, the song is given a rawer makeover, sounding far less produced than the original. Gone are the orchestral overdubs with the song relying more on the loud bluesy guitars- perhaps the way it was meant to sound. Suzi Q’s “Your Mama Won’t Like Me” stays fairly faithful to the original, but Quatro’s vocal sneer is replaced with.. well, Alice Cooper’s vocal sneer. MC5’s “Sister Anne” is almost as great as the original 1971version, with the added benefit of today’s production qualities.
The EP’s one new track, “Go Man Go”, is very much Detroit, and very much Alice Cooper. It’s rock n’ roll roots are coated with a little bit of rockabilly, a little bit of garage, a lot of attitude. Like this EP, the track should be a precursor of Alice Cooper’s anticipated next album. The hope is that he continues this work of keeping things dirty rock n’ roll as the results are more often than not, pretty great.
Few frontmen of rock will ever be as enigmatic and as timeless as Alice Cooper. Breadcrumbs is a noble effort meant to tease and build anticipation than satisfy your craving for all new Alice Cooper material. It’s done just that, hinting at what could be around the corner. On top of which it shows that there are few rock stars who will ever reach the status and longevity of everyone’s favorite rock n’ roll snake charmer.
Goo Goo Dolls – Miracle Pill
The Goo Goo Dolls have always just written good music for people who cared only that the music was good
One of the most remarkable things about the Goo Goo Dolls is their steadfast consistency amongst the ever-changing backdrop of popular music. Six years ago when they released Magnetic, I wrote that the band remained unchanged in the face of their supposed “waning popularity” in the eyes of pop culture and radio charts. It’s true that many of their contemporaries that made it big alongside them in the late 1990s are long gone, but for the Goos, they’ve quietly continued to be above everything else, themselves, just older, wiser, and continuingly more refined. Miracle Pill is their 12th studio album and is the natural progression from 2016’s Boxes. Like their previous release, Miracle Pill continues their musical evolution away from alternative rock to the more serene territory of adult contemporary. Sure, it may sound like a bad thing, but like everything the Goos have done over the past 25 years, it’s supremely confident and composed.
They may not write songs with the caustic bite like “Here Is Gone” anymore, but they have been finding comfort in the more introspective pop-strewn melodies found in songs like “Lights”. Similarly, in the new album’s lead single and title track, the Goos tap into bouncy, easy-to-digest pop empowerment. Songs like “Indestructible” show that the band haven’t put down their guitars just yet, constructing songs that are still fond of their alternative rock roots but have found comfort in grander, more expansive sounds.
The album’s best moments are when the Goo Goo Dolls unashamedly tug on the heartstrings like they’ve done so many times before. The quiet jangly nature of “Over You” does this particularly well, while the bigger, electronic-infused arena rock of “Lost” shows that this type of music is just done extremely poorly by bands like Imagine Dragons. “Autumn Leaves” is a throwback to the kind of songs found on Let Love In and Dizzy Up The Girl, sounding organic and wistful, while the closing of “Think It Over” is the kind of song they’ve been hinting at since Something For The Rest Of Us. It’s part quintessential Goos, but contemporary and timeless at the same time.
Credit to the Robby Takac songs of the album too- “Step In Line”, “Life’s a Message”- both some of the finest songs Takac has written. He is often cast in the shadow of John Rzeznik’s more recognizable sound, but on Miracle Pill, his work is the best its sounded since Dizzy.
The Ringer recently wrote a piece titled ‘The Goo Goo Dolls Were Never the Cool Kids, but They’re Still Standing’. I echoed these sentiments in that Magnetic review years ago, but if there was anything long time Goo Goo Dolls fans know is that the band were never concerned about popularity or being “cool”. The problem with being cool in music is that it fades. The Goo Goo Dolls have always just written good music for people who cared only that the music was good. Not much has changed in that sense, and really, that’s much better than being cool.