Spoon released their ninth studio album, Hot Thoughts, today (March 17) via Matador Records. The album is the followup to 2014's They Want My Soul, which hit No. 2 on the US Top Alternative Albums chart, No. 3 on the US Top Rock Albums chart, and No. 2 on the US Billboard 200. Hot Thoughts features ten new songs, including their single of the same name, and their new single "Can I Sit Next To You."
The guys recently opened up about the making of their new album, and explained what it was like making each song, the creative work that went into them, and the inspiration behind them. Check it out below.
Track 1: "Hot Thoughts"
"The first song on the record is called 'Hot Thoughts,' and the first kernel of an idea of a lyric for this one was my girlfriend was walking around late at night, and it was like one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, but she says apparently there were tons of people out on the street, and someone came up to her and told her how beautiful her teeth were. How bright and beautiful they were. She said he couldn't speak much English, they had difficulty conversing, but he could at least say her teeth were beautiful and bright. That was the first thing, and then I just took it as a starting point and just went from there. It's a good line. I just thought it was a creative way to hit on my girlfriend, really."
Track 2: "WhisperI'lllistentohearit"
"It started off with us demoing it, and we had a couple of demos that we liked, and we ended up combining two of them together. That's how we have the two different sections. And then while we were recording it, to get it to sound more fluid between the two sections, Dave Fridmann had this idea, and he just said 'Go up to the pedal shelf in the other room and grab 10 pedals. Just bring them back in here, ten of the craziest ones you can you find.' Then he made this amazing dark, scary sound that sort of sounded like, 'Night On Bald Mountain.' You'll hear it in the middle of the song, right between the two sections."
Track 3: "Do I Have to Talk You Into It"
"It's the third song on our new record Hot Thoughts, and we've only played [these songs] once live, because we've only had one show since we finished the record. We played at Anton's one night. Specifically this song I remember at the start of it that, everything kind of pops in so aggressively, and Jim's playing so hard and heavy, I remember being like 'I want to look out at the crowd and see what their faces are doing.' and I remember a lot of shocked looks in a good way. Like, clearly people were paying close attention. These songs were going past them for the very first time, and it was pretty cool to see live face reaction."
Track 4: "First Caress"
"I was working in my roommate's old room. He moved out, [and] turned his room into the computer room. And that's where I kind of work. It was just this almost fully formed, amazing song. It had a lot of the music and some gibberish. So then, it's as simple as that. [We] just took the gibberish and turned it into some words. And then we had a song."
Track 5: "Pink Up"
"We've been working with uh, Dave Fridmann for a couple of records now. He produced half of our last album, They Want My Soul, and he did all of this one with us. And Dave is a, is a wild guy. He likes to mess things up. We love working with Dave. I remember, this is kinda similar to 'Whisper,' where he actually did say, 'Go grab some percussion. Everybody in the band go grab some percussion from the percussion box. Find one that appeals to you. Go sit on the floor in the recording room. I'll set up some mics, and we'll just see what happens.' And when we listened back at first, it was awful. It felt really goofy. But he knew exactly what to cut up, and what to loop, and what parts to grab that were the good parts. And we ended up with this percussion track that is pretty far out. The song's far out in general. I think it's the longest song on the record, maybe the longest song we've ever done."
Track 6: "Can I Sit Next To You"
"This is one I demoed up pretty good. It was a demo, but it was pretty much fully formed. A lot of times you hear a demo, and you can think of something to add. I felt like it was a great demo. It worked well. It was really interesting as the song went along. What I liked about working on this one, and I remember, when we came to mixing it, there's a string section that happens in the middle, or that happens twice in the song, and it's sort of a solo. And we wanted it to sound like these out of control Bollywood strings that were super hot and melted sounding."
Track 7: "I Ain't The One"
"We were up in Fredonia, like the polar vortex, and I just remember many, many, many nights where Alex at the end of the night, would be like, 'Hey, let's try The One. Let's see see if we can get it tonight.' and just all different states of reality during each of these things. And just trying and trying and trying. Different instruments ... We think we had the right sound, and then we didn't have the right sound, and then we'd think we had the right dynamics and we didn't have the right dynamics. We'd try it without dynamics, we'd try it with dynamics, go back to without dynamics. [We] had that demo and then it was sort of like, man, something about the vibe of this is really good. It was the magic sound on the demo that we were trying to beat, or at least match. That's a dangerous operation. Chasing sounds. It was a lot, and that stuff's stressful too. We ended up using a little snippet of that demo in the very beginning. In one of the demos of 'I Ain't The One,' there was this loud, I don't know what you call it. I kept turning up the sound of the noise, the sound of like the tape hiss, turn it up, up, up, up, and then EQ it louder, and loude,r and louder, and louder, so it makes this horrible sound."
Track 8: "Tear It Down"
"I wrote this one with this gal named LP, who has since gone on to have huge success as a number one song in Poland since I met her. This was like a year ago we wrote this song, and she had something that kind of rhymed with 'Tear it Down' and so I said, 'Okay, it's gonna be tear it down.' And then I was like, "What should we tear down?' And then it was about 'the wall,' and pretty soon before I knew it, it was sort of a topical song. But while we were making this record, I thought, 'By the time the record comes out, Donald Trump will be long forgotten and this won't be a tropical song anymore.' Unfortunately that is not the reality we are living in and this one, it's about the obvious, but it's also about empathy for strangers."
Track 9: "Shotgun"
"We recorded a version of this, Alex did and I. Well actually when we were kind of working on the song for the first time and figuring out how we were going to do it, we were out in an Airbnb in Palm Springs. And we just had a couple of crappy mics that we had set up in this living room of this stranger's house. And we never really could get certain parts of the song better than that, so those Palm Springs recordings are here on the record."
Track 10: "Us"
"This one was a song that I had a version of a song in progress. It had a few words. It had some cords and I thought, it was pretty long. So I thought maybe it would be good to bring in somebody to put sax on the beginning of the song, to sort of intro us in. And I called Alex, and then I said, 'Do you know somebody?' He knew a guy who knew a guy. Pretty soon that guy is over at my house. His name is Ted, and I played the song for him once, one time through. Actually I remember, I went upstairs, got a soda, came back down. He had listened to it one time through and he goes, 'Okay, I got it.' So I started recording him. He played all the way through the song, instead of just at the intro, and it was amazing. Then he says, 'Give me one more track,' and I recorded him again. This time he played saxophone to the first sax track, and he was harmonizing with it. It was kind of amazing. I felt like I had just seen something for sure. He was only there for about 20, 25 minutes. Later that night, I was laying on the floor and I'd had the idea, 'Maybe I'll just listen to just the saxophone tracks, not the rest of the song.' And I listened to it was something. It was emotional. And I thought to myself, 'If we can find a way to make just these saxophone [parts] be the song, that would be the greatest thing. We've never done anything like that.' And I think we worked it out pretty good. But, we basically trashed all the rest of the stuff that he was recording to. Maybe a few things made it through, but most of this is based on what Ted played that day."