Lucifer On The Sofa Reminds the World: Rock Isn’t Dead

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Illustrated by Bridget Rios

Andy Knox

Staff Writer

Lucifer On The Sofa is the newest album by American rock band Spoon, headed by guitarist and singer Britt Daniel. The band is prolific, releasing ten full-length albums and a number of EPs since their start almost 30 years ago in 1993. Though they have not reached top-tier levels of musician fame, their discography is highly critically acclaimed, boasting the title of highest-rated rock band of the 2010s according to Metacritic.

Spoon’s subgenre is difficult to pin down, with the influences most apparent on this record sounding to me like a blend of ‘70s classic, ‘90s grunge, and ‘00s indie and progressive rock. 

The album opens on a slow-burning strong note with “Held,” a song whose instrumentation had me wanting to put on a cowboy hat and strut through the desert until I found someone to duel. The lyrics, though cryptic, center around the singer allowing himself to fearlessly do things he has always wanted but been too scared to do. These activities included the singer being held “like a big old baby” and laying in tall grass to let ants cover him. This falls in line with a general theme on the album of casting aside the fears, both social and personal, that get in the way of doing what one wants. 

Directly after “Held,” comes the most popular and grooviest track on the album, “The Hardest Cut.” The bouncy, tightly synchronized instrumentals give the listener a clear mental image of all three middle-aged men vibing hard and shaking their heads back and forth to the “plunky” jam they’re recording. The lyrics again feel more like an array of different expressions of similar feelings than a cohesive story or description of a single concept. Daniel touches on taking off in the dead of night, individuality, others’ expectations, and religion. Though it’s unclear the extent to which the song tells a story or errs on the meaningless side, the lyrics undeniably sound pretty cool. 

“Wild” is the next biggest hit on the album. In terms of what it is about, it shares some similarities with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive” in that it seems to compare being a musician to being an outlaw on the run, going from town to town and playing for the people. The lyrics in this one, however, are much more subtle, symbolic, vague, and concise, and the chorus is inspiring instead of solemn. 

Daniel speaks of the banality of modern living and contrasts it with the explosive chorus in which he exclaims, “and the world, still so wild, called to me,” reminding listeners of the vast beauty life has to offer. Instrumentally, the song is another carefully-planned, patient, energetic banger. The instruments made me want to walk pointedly during the verses, and bound to the skies during the choruses. 

Daniel sings with such high spirits and elevating energy on the hard-rocking “My Babe” that it has me wanting to sing my heart out and beat my chest for his babe too. Daniel said he had always tried to disguise any genuine emotion written in his songs and that this was his first time in almost thirty years of writing music that he allowed himself to write a straight-up love song not coated in metaphors born out of fear of vulnerability. 

The background that Daniel provides manifests itself in the song’s sound, with it being obvious that Daniel is really feeling the freedom in no longer hiding the explosive, euphoric love that his lover makes him feel. The instruments all work subtly with the singer to tell the story of him getting gradually more comfortable unabashedly expressing his love, starting out fluttery and nervous, but getting louder and more excited each chorus. 

There are not many negative things to say about the album. Each and every song is unique and fun. That being said, aside from some interesting tympanies, dreamy background vocals, and harps on “Astral Jacket,” the sounds on any given track do not tend to be especially original in the broader context of the genre. 

It’s all great rock ‘n’ roll, but nothing new. As I have mentioned, the lyrics do not tend to be especially meaningful; for at least a few of the songs, it is not clear that they’re about anything. However, they invariably sound cool and interesting, and still successfully evoke the feelings that they aim to, so maybe this different approach isn’t all that much of a problem.

Overall, Lucifer On The Sofa is an outstanding record for what it is: groovy, strut-worthy, exciting hard rock that proves the genre that so many call dead is still alive in the current year. 

Rating: 7/10

3 COMMENTS

  1. Great post! There are definitely some things that people don’t think about when they buy a lottery ticket. So many things in your life change, I can’t say that I would want it either!…

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