This isn’t a big sing-along record, though. It’s pop, but it’s sans bubblegum, that’s for sure. The irony is thick in places, and you’ll have some hard time deciding whether the “la, la, la” backing vocals on the closing “Kiss Me Like a Stranger” are meant to be mocking. “Have you ever had sex for money?” Spencer asks, “and have you ever lied for fun?”
Are those meant to be equivalent? Does he care if you have?
It’s clear that it no longer matters what other people think. Who doesn’t want to be loved for who they are? Who doesn’t wish they had it better?
“Macworth” is Beatles pop, but with digital nods and an edge. It is caveat as artform: “I’d do anything that you’d ask/Within reason/I’d do anything at all.” Well, which is it? Is this all-in, or is there another level Spencer hasn’t explored yet?
I suspect this is just the dawn of a new era. There are still studio crutches here that could be cast aside. There are still glasses on his vision. But the best thing about each Spencer iteration is that we get indelible evidence he walked past. From “Two Feet” to “So Good” to “Florida Sunshine” to “Big Old House” to “iRok” to Spose’s “Into Spose,” if Spencer hasn’t left you something to remember him by now, you just haven’t been listening.
SPENCER | Released by Spencer | with Brenda | at Port City Music Hall, in Portland | July 20 | facebook.com/spencer.albee
: CD Reviews
, Spencer Albee