Revivalist rock & roll
Never mess with Jon Spencer. This ’80s underground icon never let his edgy exterior falter over the years, rather he is just as sharp as ever. There is nothing synthetic about the punk attitude Spencer spits into his music–vocals that cringe at modern society and musicality that screams innovation. In his debut solo album, Spencer Sings The Hits!, Jon Spencer melts down the ’80s vinyls of his past self to press them into a renewed garage rock sound. Although influenced by a number of bands before the turn of the century, Jon Spencer stylistically crafted his solo album with a modern yet retro approach to revivalist rock and roll. This is not the type of rock and roll you tell your friends about, but the music you hold onto for artistic remembrance of the creative genius that Jon Spencer once was–and still is.
“Do The Trash Can” comically jigs like a folk dance song, with metallic drums filling the hollow sound with riotous percussion. The memorably funky bassline in “Overload” sounds almost identical to Tame Impala’s “Half Full Glass of Wine.” But Spencer’s voice adds originality, as he utters soothing lyrics over the psychedelic distress of orchestral chaos.
Spencer’s uniquely bad-boy-esque aesthetic continues in “Time 2 Be Bad,” reminiscing on his time spent with garage rock band Pussy Galore. It is no surprise that Spencer Sings The Hits! draws from the Velvet Underground and other alternative punk rock bands from the CBGB ages. However, Jon Spencer retains the same seductive angst that his ’80s self loved to indulge listeners in. Spencer’s solo career begins decades later, initiating a dialogue with those who crave the sincerity of punk rock blues. Surrender your pretensions because it is impossible not to fall in desperate love with Jon Spencer’s solo work. Jon Spencer is the Elvis Presley of his time, with controversial sensuality and outright dirty rock and roll.
While “Beetle Boots” is repetitively monotonous, Spencer’s visceral yelling is enticing, while the rattling guitar plays this funky filth meant to make your toes curl. The kinky guitar melody in “Hornet” is coupled with twangy vocals, making this song a blues masterpiece. With a blistering bridge leading to Jon Spencer’s ear-catching vocals, “Hornet” should really be called “Horny.”
The song title “Love Handle” is just as sultry as the mood of the song, with vicious guitar riffs that dribble into the mix of a rock and roll demo. Spencer cackles mid-way through the song, as humor becomes his last instrument to fill the staff of musical mayhem.
Jon Spencer’s vocals are largely a product of his personality, his voice shakes with sensual appeal and an impetuous punk attitude. His ego is perfectly obtrusive in “I Got The Hits” with confident vocals and chaotic compositions that fill the background noise with nothing but pure vision. This ’80s icon could well be the icon that modern listeners are looking for in the contemporary punk rock and blues genre. Give him a listen, and decide for yourself. But without a doubt, Jon Spencer has got the hits.