From the mailbag…

From: Damon
Sent: Wed 8/17/2005 5:47 AM
To: Stereogum
Subject: yo. not really news but

an interesting rumor nonetheless.

so i was at this drunk hipster party on saturday and this drunk hipster by the name of claudia i think it was (from austin, no less) who swore she knows britt personally upon hearing that i was a spoon fan told me that “gimme fiction” was sequenced backwards on purpose, meaning that the last track should be the first track and so on. some kind of inside joke says she, a hidden pop materpiece, and also that the instrumental tags that follow some of the songs are alledgedly supposed to be clues pointing to the switch. also the title. also the vaginal metaphors of the cover art. “yes, we are fucking with you”. or something.

anyways i tried it. and you know what? drunk hipster might be onto something. clearly its more cohesive the other way around. all the songs were already great, but now they seem to follow a sort of theme, a straight line as it were. as opposed to the disjointedness and schizophrenic mood shifts of the original order. sounds like a live set or something. i don’t know, try it if you want. i for one like it better this way.

the tracklisting should read like this
01 merchants of soul
02 they never got you
03 was it you?
04 the infinite pet
05 i summon you
06 sister jack
07 the delicate place
08 my mathematical mind
09 i turn my camera on
10 the two sides of monsieur valentine
11 the beast and dragon, adored

And Paul is dead, etc…

Stream some Gimme Fiction here.

Comments (36)
  1. I like how the opening to Sister Jack comes in right when Dorothy and the Scarecrow start skipping down the yellow brick road.

  2. Josh  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    ehh… I call shenanigans on this one

  3. stooge  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    Gimme Fiction is a great fucking album…I don’t know why it didn’t get the credit it deserved on this overly pretentious indie internet circle, but it should be known that Spoon made a great album…I love stereogum and am not really directing that comment to you but more at the people that read/post…

    I’ll try this out…I have noticed some of those “instrumental tags” and was wondering why they were there and why they related to the previous song etc…I love the first four tracks though so we’ll see…

  4. I’m about 4 tracks into the reverse order playlist (gosh, itunes makes that really easy to arrange!), and I have to say, Gimme Fiction is even more fantastic in this order. That may just be because I’ve worn the album down with repeated spins in the offical track order, but listening to it in reverse really does reveal some hidden corners and linkages that just seemed like filler noise before. Guess that makes me some sort of hipster conspiracy theorist. Cheers!

  5. Mat  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    ok I have to try this one…

  6. Whatever, drunk hipsters! “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” is definitely the best first song on the record, and it’s the song they open the shows with normally.

  7. PantyHamster  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    Britt never mentioned anything like this to me.

  8. debbipete  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    The reverse order theory makes some sense in the case of ‘beast and dragon’ being the last song–it’s easier to catch the allusions to the previous tracks this way.

    either direction, great album.

  9. Britt  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    The REAL track listing is 3, 8, 11, 1, 4, 2, 9, 10, 5, 7, 6.

    That hipster chick has obviously never met me in her life.

  10. i didn’t try it britt’s way, but crazy shit, this backwards thing works!

    and yeah matthew, i agree that “beast and dragon, adored” is a great 1st track — i saw them a few times this summer and every time they played it 1st…part of their plan muahahaha.

  11. Drew  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    What about the Bonus Tracks? “Carryout Kids” is by far the best cut on the album, I think. Most of my friends bought the CD off iTunes (or pirated MP3s) and missed out on the extra tracks. If you haven’t heard it yet, download it.

  12. i know drew! that song rules i’m soo glad i got the bonus cd. the song that sounds like it was recorded off an old rario is kinda neat too

  13. doh, i mean, a re-named ‘was it you’ that’s recorded all jacked

  14. Wait. Do people still listen to cd’s all the way through in one sitting?

  15. derek  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    OK, I’ll try it. But what’s this about clues being in the album title and artwork? You lost me there…

  16. I remember years ago that someone told me that if you played “Doolittle” in the order suggested by the lyrics in the liner notes, the album has some sort of cohesive them or something. Never tried it, though.

  17. Robert  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    I feel like an asshole now. Listening to the album wrong all this time. God damn Britt. God damn you.

    And why do I read these comments. Everyday, I come on Stereogum, like an asshole, and I read what other shit people say. Shit with a capital SH.
    Like Shiv’s comment. Why did I read that? What a crap thing to read… and then care about. I thought to myself ‘Damn, I’ve been listening to whole albums all this time, like an asshole. I should have been pretending to listen to them and then hating them because they arn’t as good as the bands last album.”
    God damn me.

  18. Ben  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    wow, this really does work much better as an album in this order…weird. Plus, it makes me want to follow all the way through even more pushing the climax towards the end. Well played Mr. Daniels.

  19. Devin  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    It would make a LOT of sense after seeing their new music video for “I turn my camera on.” It is heavily influenced by Guy Bourdins photography and he was into surrealist ideals and philosophy ( i mean he grew up with man ray so…)

    The whole backwards fucking with the audience thing would make perfect sense!

  20. Robert  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    Yes man ray… I loved those comics.
    Perfect sense.

  21. Irish  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    Robert, will you be my friend?

  22. Robert  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0


  23. Robert  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    It’s funny because I am Irish. Oh Yeah.
    Limerick County baby.

    But, I have just finished listening to the album backwards, like an asshole, and I didn’t have a revelation or anything.
    I. Just. Ate. Ice-cream.

  24. Zef Wagner  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    The reverse order thing DOES NOT WORK for one obvious reason that I’m surprised no one has picked up on: if you listen to “Was It You?” and “They Never Got You” in a row, you will find that the first leads right into the second with the rain sound effects. This doesn’t work when you listen to them in reverse order. That makes it obvious that those two songs at least are in the correct order as packaged.

  25. heather  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    I agree about the “Was It You?” and “They Never Got You” point. I don’t see why more people didn’t spot this right off (it was the first thing I thought of).

    No matter, I will give this “backwards theroy” a try later.

  26. Andrew  |   Posted on Aug 18th, 2005 0

    And if you stream the album from the Merge website, the timer thingy on each track runs backwards.

  27. I just nerdily re-ordered Doolittle by how it is in the liner notes and No. 13 Baby is indeed track 13 on the supposed “real” version. It won’t sound right this way, though…because it’s Doolittle.

  28. Robert, I was just being sarcastic. It seems as though I’m always seeing articles and interviews of people saying that downloading of music and MP3′s (not to mention most people having severe ADD) has caused people to gravitate more to single songs. It seems as though the experience of really spending a lot of time with one album is gone because so many people are done with a release before it is even physically released.

    I’m not saying that is *right* by any means, it just has become a way of life for a lot of folks. Maybe those are just the more casual music fans, but I know that even I am guilty of often not transferring every song off an album onto my iPod. Since that seems to be where I do the bulk of my listening from, it keeps me from listening to a whole album.

    Anyway, probably far too much response from my end…I just wanted to expand upon my earlier comment so you (maybe) will think I’m less of an asshole…

  29. Did you guys hear that if you play Wizard of Oz with ‘Gimme Fiction’ backwards while standing on your head you’re a moron?

  30. Robert  |   Posted on Aug 19th, 2005 0

    I don’t think you are an asshole. I don’t even know you… and more than that, I don’t even care.
    You forget that I am the asshole. Listening to Spoon backwards, what the ass was I thinking.
    A perfectly good album ruined.

  31. Anybody have (or know where to get) that Carryout Kids song? thx.

    And backwards does sound good, but wouldn’t Spoon’s entire collection played in any order sound pretty damn good?

  32. matty  |   Posted on Aug 20th, 2005 0

    Britt Daniel personally shoots down this theory in a solo live set he did for Austin’s local NPR station, KUT. here and go to about the 7:30 mark and within a minute he’ll have explained why “Beast…” is the first track.

    Or I’m sure it could just be another punchline in such an elaborate joke.

    (By the way, this can work with other albums — I accidentally burned my Neptunes album in reverse order and liked it better that way.)

  33. Doesn’t anyone find the album, “Gimme Fiction” and specifically the songs “sister jack” and “I summon you”, to be opining the situation in Iraq and war in general. I mean Gimme Fiction…that’s what they gave us and apparently we wanted more; 4 more years of it. The Jack, refering to the UK flag with a “knife in my back” referencing the lies. Also the lyric in “I Summon You” being, “the law enforcement’s impressed you’ve survived to this age strapped-up soldiers they’ll lock you in a cage without goodbye for a nickel bribe”…locked away in a cage being the coffins that were refused to be viewed by the public, and nickel bribe, well…we’re not idiots.

  34. zepher-girl  |   Posted on Sep 11th, 2005 0

    i….love bam margera thats all i have to say!!!

  35. caffiend  |   Posted on Sep 16th, 2005 0

    hey, i tried that playing-it-backwards-on-my-head-while-watching-wizard-of-oz and i did indeed feel and look like an idiot. just wanted to let everyone know that one wasn’t a rumor. thanks for the tip!

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