Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon

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If the idea of a band like Spoon releasing a best-of collection in the late 2010s seems a little retro, that's because it is: Britt Daniel, Jim Eno, and company conceived of Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon as a compilation along the lines of the Cure's Standing on a Beach or New Order's Substance -- a set of songs that not only defines a band's work, but holds its own as an entertaining listen. In its own way, Everything Hits at Once accomplishes both of these goals. It kicks off with Gimme Fiction's "I Turn My Camera On," which with its stark, snaky groove and cryptic yet specific mood, is peak Spoon. The collection then explores the different directions in which the band took that sound, but instead of sequencing them in chronological order or grouping similar-sounding songs, Everything Hits at Once uses unexpected juxtapositions to show just how much range Spoon's music has, even if its changes over the years have been subtle. The compilation jumps forward almost a decade with the pensive, atmospheric "Do You" (from 2014's They Want My Soul), a reminder of just how much Spoon's music opened up on their 2010s albums with Dave Fridmann. Another They Want My Soul cut, "Inside Out," sounds downright lush with its harp and strings, especially compared to its neighbor "That's the Way We Get By" from 2002's Kill the Moonlight, when adding a piano to their stripped-down rock seemed radical -- yet both songs share the purposeful spaciousness that defines Spoon's music. The compilation's selections aren't exactly democratic; there's only one song from 2010's Transference, the pounding liberation of "Got Nuffin." There are also some surprising omissions. For most other bands, not including a song as irresistible as Gimme Fiction's "Sister Jack" on a best-of would be heresy. However, Spoon's body of work is so strong that it's not a deal-breaker for this collection, especially when "I Summon You" and "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" are also fine examples of their joyous, strummy pop. Even if it can't include all of the band's great songs, Everything Hits at Once does touch on all the great sides of their music, spanning "The Underdog"'s brassy flourishes, the tightly wound funk of "Don't You Evah," the relentless defiance of "Rent I Pay," and "Hot Thoughts"' pulsing drama. The collection ends with a final nod to tradition: Like many of those old-school compilations, it includes a new track to make sure longtime fans pay attention. As on the songs that came before it, "No Bullets Spent" takes a handful of familiar puzzle pieces -- a bracing riff, a fierce guitar solo -- and assembles them into a new picture. It's another example of how Spoon reinvent rock traditions to suit themselves, as is Everything Hits at Once, which proves there are few bands more adept at giving the venerable best-of compilation a refresh.

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