This latest album from Spoon is an interesting proposition – an eight song EP that includes seven different versions of one song. The song that the majority of the album is built on is "Don't You Evah" which was one of a number of great three minute pop songs on Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Still no matter how great a song is, are you going to want to listen to it seven times in a row? Of the different versions one is Spoon's, five are remixes, and one is the Natural History's (who wrote and recorded the original).
"Don't You Evah" has a number of things going for it that make it great for various re-mixes. Most apparently is the catchy melody that is easily identifiable. The percussion is persistent and deceptively simple sounding. One of the most interesting things is the guitar parts. There are two guitar parts; one almost mirrors the rubber band bassline while the "lead" part is something else entirely.
The actual re-mixes do not sound like any type of musical revelation. They do not really break out of the typical stereotype of re-mixes or "dance" music. Things like stuttering synths, handclaps, vocal distortion, and drum machine riffs are added to the song. I cannot say that any particular iteration stood out as a highlight. But I cannot say that any one stood out as a lowlight either.
What keeps the EP from becoming one big blur is that the different re-mixers concentrate on different elements of the song. Ted Leo's mix concentrates mainly on the drums, adding massive echo to them. The Diplo mix adds synths to the melody and changes the rhythm dramatically. The Matthew Dear version cascades and swirls the electronica. It nearly sounds like U2 remixed. If someone was not really paying attention, they might not even realize that all the tracks are the same song.
The album closes with the Natural History version. Their take on it is a bit rockier and rawer than Spoon's.
The other song on the album is "All I Got is Me," the EP's B-Side. It is a strong song in its own right; it would not have seemed out of place on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. It is yet another good three minute pop song, with driving, droning bass lines and perfectly complementary drumming. The short stabby guitar is a bit less adventuresome than some of the Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga tracks, but matches the song perfectly.
Each song on this album was an enjoyable listen, making this EP a good one the whole way through. If you are not a hardcore Spoon fan I would not say this is an essential work. But Spoon lovers and fans of re-mixes will want to at least check it out.
Personally, I'm more than ready for the next Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga song to be re-mixed. How about "Don’t Make Me a Target," "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," or "Underdog"? I could take seven versions of those songs as well.