Music on TV This Week: Spoon and Conan
Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask Conan O’Brien and NBC, or, better yet, the band Spoon. The Britt Daniel-led quartet has written a lot of songs on the subject, including a good chunk of their latest release, Transference, which is out this week. So it’s appropriate that the band plays what might be Conan’s last hurrah on The Tonight Show Tuesday* night, part of the host’s send-off week.
*At the time of publish, Tuesday night was the last scheduled night for The Tonight Show. NBC is expected to make an official announcement on Monday or Tuesday as to the details of the talk show’s future, with O’Brien’s departure set for sometime this week.
As a follow up to their biggest selling album, 2007′s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Transference will probably confuse a few of those new fans as it’s Spoon in the raw, with a couple of the songs even remaining in demo form and only a few others that recall the band at their catchiest. The band will likely be playing one of those songs, “Written in Reverse,” Tuesday night on The Tonight Show, and if you look at the song through the right lens, you could pretend it’s about NBC’s Jeff Zucker: “No nothing was planned / You just can’t help yourself / Some people are so easily shuffled and dealt.” (Of course, they’ve written the ultimate vindictive song about a corporate glad hander with “The Agony of Laffitte,” blistering written about A&R man Ron Laffitte, then with Elektra, featuring the lyric, “It’s like I knew two of you, man / The one before and after we shook hands.”)
Meanwhile, Spectacle’s second season is winding down, when it seems it had just begun. The final two episodes are an edited down version of the four-hour love fest Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello put on last year at the famous Apollo Theater. The two spent so much time talking and playing the music they love, that there was just no way to edit all the magic down to one hour. At one point, Spingsteen posits “The greatest rock ’n’ roll musicians are desperate men,” but the only thing desperate on this night was the need to hear more from these two legends of rock.