Album: Girls Can Tell
. . .
Britt Daniel has said that one of the key influences for Girls Can Tell was Elvis Costello’s Get Happy!! — still a top five EC album for me — and nowhere was that influence more pronounced than on my favorite track on record, “Take The Fifth,” which is also a prime example of what my favorite Spoon songs would be moving forward.
First off, “Take The Fifth” anchored by a merciless double-time beat from drummer Jim Eno. Like most of Eno’s great parts, it’s deceptively simple, and the framework on which the rest of the song hangs, especially at first, which it’s accompanied by Joshua Zarbo’s bass, some occasional shimmering guitar and handclaps(!).
Wendy’s walking out alone and it’s Saturday night
All the boys act tough but they’ve got to bite
When they do, they’ll get more than a slap on the wrist
And it’s clear who’s promoting her own myth
As Daniel sings all of this is an almost strangled voice, he starts tossing in some hooks here and there, most especially a mathematically precise piano hook over in one speaker, which alternates a three-note call with an occasional response, just in time for them to all barrel into the chorus.
So I’ll take the fifth
Take the fifth, oh
Because like our former President, Daniel has stuff that he could say, but he doesn’t want to incriminate himself. So, on advice of counsel, he’s just going to continue to tell the story, while continuing to add and subtract guitar and keyboard hooks.
Wendy’s out on her own, it’s a Saturday night
And I’ve been hanging around as if to save my life
All the girls stand around with their hands on their hips
‘Cause all the boys have already fallen prey to her myth
Oh, and a great quick vocal hook, a overmodulated “ah-ooh-hoo” after he sings “all the girls stand around with their hands on their hips”. In a lot of ways, “Take The Fifth” was a look ahead to the sparse, keyboard driven songs that dominated their next album, Kill The Moonlight.
“Take The Fifth”
“Take The Fifth” live in Austin, 2001
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