The Hardest Cut by Spoon
By Ron Powers
The Hardest Cut by Spoon
I hope you had a nice holiday season and are ready to make 2022 a great year. This month I’m going to focus on a fantastic number called “The Hardest Cut” by Austin, Texas rock-n-rollers Spoon. “The Hardest Cut” is the first single off their upcoming album, Lucifer On The Sofa, due out in February. This song makes you want to put on a pair of sunglasses and swivel your hips from beat one. It’s stone-cold cool and fun at the same time and if you like rock-n-roll music you’ll love “The Hardest Cut”.
The song begins with room microphones picking up the sound of handclaps and snare drum rimshots. In the midst of this, one of the band members counts off the song before one of the best guitar riffs I’ve heard in a long time is introduced. Under the crispy and grooving riff, the band layer thick 70s style drums and bass which combined to produce a tone and weight most rock bands only dream about producing. “The Hardest Cut” is the sort of song that feels so fresh and appealing from the start that you almost don’t need to listen to the song to know you love it.
Singer Britt Daniel deepens the cool vibe of this song with plucky and headstrong lyrics. The first verse sets the stage with the lines, “You took off in the dead of night / But before you did, got your hair combed right, yeah / The neighborhood watch knows the score / And they’re knockin’ at your door, let them knock some more”. Under the vocal the main riff along with drums and bass keep things grooving as the song twists its way to the pre-chorus.
For the pre-chorus, the top line shifts to a new rhythm and note pattern while the main groove of the song remains the same. Additionally, a second guitar part is introduced which loosely follows and accentuates what the lead vocal is doing. This section quickly resolves itself with subtle tension creating a seamless transition into the chorus. It’s amazing how much mileage Spoon manages to get out of a minimalist guitar riff. Yes, “The Hardest Cut” is as simple as they come. Yet, all the virtuosity in the world couldn’t deliver the satisfaction it provides with just a few cleverly arranged notes.
The band switch gears for the chorus where we hear the guitars delivering staccato quarter notes along with interesting variations of the original riff. Sustained vocal notes along with a catchy melody provide contrast to the staccato vibe of the guitars. This combination makes for a chorus that lifts “The Hardest Cut” to true rock-n-roll gem status. And with the song coming in at just 3 minutes and 13 seconds, you almost can’t resist playing it twice.
Spoon currently has two shows booked for early 2022 and more shows will likely be added by the time this article reaches you. If you’d like to check tour dates you can find them at www.spoonband.com. If you’d like to learn more about Spoon you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to “The Hardest Cut” or any of Spoon’s many other fine songs, you can find them on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, and most other places music is streamed or sold.
Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.