May 18th, 2010 8:45am

Are You Quite Certain, Love?

Spoon “Is Love Forever?”

The first half of Transference sounds drunk and dizzy, and Britt Daniel’s lyrical sentiments match the tone, spilling out expressions of fear, desire, and confusion without the benefit of sober self-consciousness. “Is Love Forever?” is about the same as listening to a drunk friend tell you about their bad luck with relationships, but far more tuneful, interesting, and resonant. Musically, this is about as close as Spoon gets to a type of Robert Pollard song only familiar to dedicated fans — it’s in the rhythm and the structure, the way it bops along like pop but resolves itself without retracing many steps. A lot of the charm comes through in Daniel’s lyrics, which in only a handful of lines sets up contradicting anxieties, clever metaphors, and vivid imagery. (I’m a sucker for “some ex-girlfriend, call her Heather, whispers to me ‘Is love forever?'”) I didn’t even notice the bit of lyrics that really get me now until I saw them printed out on the album sleeve just recently. As Britt sings “Are you quite certain, love?” with increasing emphasis, a second Britt sings another verse buried beneath it: “When I’m older, start to wonder – was that love or instinct working? Have I even felt it ever? What’s the object? Is love forever?” Questions, questions, questions, and no certainty whatsoever.

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