Spoon's Britt Daniel: My Life in 15 Songs - Rolling Stone
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Spoon’s Britt Daniel: My Life in 15 Songs

Singer-guitarist looks back on two decades of industry drama and lightning-strike creativity

Britt Daniel

Britt Daniel talks about 15 great Spoon songs, from "The Way We Get By" and "I Turn My Camera On" to deeper cuts.

Oliver Halfin

“I like greatest-hits albums,” Britt Daniel says. “The first record I ever heard by the Cure was Standing on a Beach. The first record I ever had by New Order was Substance. That’s the way I found those bands, and then I went backwards.”

Spoon, the lean, wily rock band that Daniel has led since 1993, are not the most obvious choice for a compilation of that kind. They have all the hallmarks of an albums act, known more for their consistently excellent long-players than for any hit singles as such. (Quick, name the best Spoon album. Bet you said Kill the Moonlight or Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga — unless you’re truly wild, in which case you picked Transference. Now think of their biggest song. Harder, right?)

This year, though, with a summer tour opening for Beck and Cage the Elephant approaching, Daniel challenged himself to put together a beginner’s guide to Spoon. The result was Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon, the compilation they released in July. “It’s not really a completist’s greatest hits,” explains the singer-guitarist, 48. “It’s more like the cream of the crop.”

For this feature, Daniel chose a different set of 15 songs to tell the story of how Spoon went from unknown Texas noisemakers to major-label flame-outs to one of the most acclaimed rock acts of the last 20 years. “There are worse things to talk about,” he says, settling into a chair at his label’s downtown Manhattan office.

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