Britt Daniel talks influences behind ‘Girls Can Tell’, shares “Lines in the Suit” demo
After a rocky late-'90s start, Spoon's got things to click with their third album, Girls Can Tell, where they figured out their minimal sound and paired it with grabby hooks and great songs including "Everything Hits at Once," "The Fitted Shirt," "Lines in the Suit" and "Anything You Want." Girls Can Tell turned 20 last weekend and frontman Britt Daniel has reminisced a little on its making:
Girls Can Tell was the Hail Mary pass that absolutely no one thought was gonna find a receiver. It was the record where the colors changed, trains collided, and suddenly we sounded a lot more like us than we’d ever sounded before. At the time it felt like a last chance and it also felt like the last gasp of youth, which seems a little funny now considering how shaped it was by oldies radio, the Supremes, the Kinks, and Eleanor Friedberger's cassette of Get Happy. The big idea behind Girls Can Tell was to take stock of the band’s MO from inception until that point, to carefully consider all the things we’d been trying to do and the way we'd been doing them, and then set out to specifically avoid all of that. To instead come up with some new songs that were actually about where I was at and how I was feeling! Songs that knew no cool rules. Songs that cried themselves to sleep at night and got up and shook themselves by the collar the next morning. It was the record that sorted out how much fight we had left in us.
Britt's also shared a demo version of "Lines in the Suit" from 1999 that's just him and guitar and a few overdubs, but is pretty great. Britt also put together a "Girls Can Tell Deluxe Playlist" that he says is "all the tracks from the album plus songs I was obsessed with and forcing on my bandmates at the time. It’s possible you'll notice some hints of 'You’re Lookin Fine' in 'The Fitted Shirt,' or some very similar opening lyrics in 'Possession' and 'Anything You Want,' or some amateur stabs at the Supremes’ rhythm section on 'Take The Fifth.' All liberally borrowed when we needed it most, now gratefully returned via the digital sea."
Listen to that playlist, the "Lines in the Suit" demo and the original album below.