Spoon, Girls Can Tell (Merge): Spoon's most ambitious album is also their best. Leader/singer/guitarist/co-producer Britt Daniel and his longtime partner/drummer/co-producer Jim Eno wanted to make a classic sounding, rubbersoulful rock 'n' roll album (thus the cover photograph of a vinyl 12-inch spinning). They succeeded, and then some. The opener, "Everything Hits At Once," is gorgeous pop with keyboards, vibes and mellotron setting up Daniel's blue-eyed-soul. The lyric "Don't say a word/ The last one's still stinging," says plenty, as does "I go to sleep but think you're next to me." Heartache dead ahead. The moody noir ballad "Chicago At Night" and the Big Starish "Anything You Want" are about one heart breaking in two. Then there's the sting of career disappointment and disillusionment. "Believing Is Art," "Lines in the Suit" and "Take A Walk" dig that hole. Wanna get out of this place? Try the now sound of anywhere but here. — Michael Goldberg

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