Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: alt-country, B-Side, Bryn, Cover, Glenn Kotche, Jay Bennett, Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Mikael Jorgensen, Music, Nels Cline, Pat Sansone, Rock, Songs, The Album, Wilco, Wilco (The Album)
So, I ran out of Wilco songs a few months ago. However, I’ve decided I’m going to start taking on the new songs found on Wilco (The Album) along with a bunch of b-sides, outtakes, covers, and whatever else there is. If you have anything you want me to cover that I haven’t taken on already, please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.
I’m excited to be starting this up again, and I hope you guys enjoy the new posts.
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: A.M., Acoustic, alt-country, Country, Folk, Guitar, phaser, Should've Been In Love, Wilco
I’ve always like this song enough, but I have to do a little bit of complaining. What the hell is up with the ending? The song is full of acoustic instruments and some really nice, clean electric guitar, and then they use a phaser on the outro. I’m not going to lie, every time I hear that ending, I just have to shake my had and wonder why they’d do it to the song… The whole thing is so pleasant to listen to with the exception of that wishy-washy guitar…
Apart from the shitty ending, though it’s not that different from anything else off of A.M., but that’s OK. A lot of fans rank this one near the bottom, but I’ve always appreciated it for what it is: a very consistent album. The songs don’t really deviate from the main theme of troubled relationships, and there’s a really honest, easy-going vibe that just continues with each track.
Filed under: Being There | Tags: Album, alt-country, Alternative, Banjo, Being There, Country, Folk, Rock, What's The World Got In Store, Wilco
The first time I listened to this song, I was seriously starting to get nervous. I imagined them ending the first disc with a song backed by nothing but banjo. Looking back now, that could have been really, really cool. But I still really like it when that piano starts up… Then come the drums… Bass… Rock!
This song sounds like foreshadowing to the sound the band would achieve on Summerteeth, combining folk music with retro pop. There’s that banjo I mentioned earlier, but there are also nice, thick harmonies and organs in the background. There are few songs that can compete with the big, warm glow of “What’s The World Got In Store?” It’s a really pleasant listen, and, to be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the lyrics. Really, it’s the sound of a band slowly getting rid of the “country” half of “alt-country.” (or totally embracing the “alt”)
Being There is probably the most interesting set of songs the band has released. The tracklisting combines incredibly simple folk and country songs with alternative rock similar to what was found on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. You can view it as an inconsistent, bloated project or two discs with a beautiful variety of sounds and textures. For the record, I go with the latter. I’d have to say Being There is actually my favorite Wilco album…
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: A.M., alt-country, car, Country, Folk, gaiters, grand theft auto, Love, misheard lyric, Relationship, Shouldn't Be Ashamed, Wilco
I’m usually pretty good at being able to make out lyrics, but I’ll admit that I had a bit of a problem with this one. It’s pretty embarrassing, too. In the chorus, I couldn’t make out the line “If it’s not like I told you/Then it’s still your call.” I heard “If it’s not like I told/Then I’ll steal your car.” I realize that it doesn’t make any sense at all, but try telling that to me in my early/mid teens.
Anyway, this song is absolutely not about committing grand theft auto; but discusses relationships. (Like just about every other song on A.M.) The narrator is looking at a difficult relationship and realizing that it’s supposed to be a happy thing, and that they “Shouldn’t be afraid/Shouldn’t be ashamed.” He actually tells her that she should do whatever she wants about it, even if that means leaving him. Of course, I imagine he would prefer some other solution, but if that’s what it takes…
This is also the only song I know that mentions gaiters. (Which is kind of cool in a really odd way)
Filed under: Being There | Tags: alt-country, Alternative, Beatles, Being There, County, Disc 2, Experimental, Folk, Piano, Rock, Why Would You Wanna Live?, Wilco
This song starts off strong with a marching snare and bouncy piano part. I always found it funny that the song, which is a pretty unhappy one, has such poppy Beatles-esque music. Of course, those Beatles comparisons can be killed as soon as the banjo, fiddle, and honky-tonk piano kick in. The vocal delivery is very plain and dull in the verses and builds up in the chorus only to never reach a climax. While all of these parts together may seem a little strange, the song works really well.
I’ve always felt like it’s a little bit of foreshadowing to the material that would be featured on Summerteeth. Really, if you pulled the folk instruments out of the recording, it could pass as a Summerteeth track. Wilco has managed to prove that they have a really great pop sensiblity while maintaining their credibility as serious musicians and songwriters. Of course, it isn’t THAT great, since they haven’t had a whole lot of chart success. But that’s besides the point…
I’ve always felt like Being There is a band that is lost. They’re staying true to those alt-country roots, but discovering the kind of things they can do by using the studio as an instrument. Songs like “Misunderstood” and “Sunken Treasure” are signs of what Wilco had up their sleeves for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and, to a lesser extent, Summerteeth. There are still songs like “Forget The Flowers” and “Say You Miss Me” that would have fit on A.M. without standing out. This transition album was just what they needed, and it quite obviously helped them evolve.
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: 1994, A.M., alt-country, Charming, Country, Jeff Tweedy, Love, Pick Up The Change, Relationship, Wilco
Jeff Tweedy has perfected the art of the writing the incredibly genuine love song. The lyrics can be sweet and happy without sounding cliche or blindly optimistic. “Pick Up The Change” is a really great example of this. When I listen to the song, I think it all comes to the delivery of the lyrics. He sounds like he isn’t excited about the person when you know he really is. After all, the song is all about how compatible he is with this woman.
He knows that if one of their minds starts to wander away from the relationship, “it’ll fall in line.” That’s how strong their bond is: it will just effortlessly work out. I think the nicest lyric would have to be “If it’s just your heart talking/I’ll listen every time/Dear, you can talk my ear off/Anytime, anytime.” Like I said earlier, he manages to sound really casual about his feelings towards her when they’re really stronger than he would like it to appear. But because he sings this song, he’s being more open about it. This is because they’ve really grown together. Take this line: “We used to have a lot of things in common/But you know, now we’re just the same.” They started off with some similar interests and ended up bonding closer than they thought was possible.
“Pick Up The Change” has that wonderful, bashful charm that you find in a lot of early Wilco songs. It’s been missing lately, and that’s a real shame. Maybe we’ll see a return to form in the new songs this spring…
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: 1994, A.M., alt-country, Beer, Cars, County, Driving, DUI, Passenger Side, Wilco
If there’s one topic that hasn’t been sung about enough, it’s DUIs.
I’ve always loved this song, off of Wilco’s first album. It manages to be funny and sad at the same time, something not many artists can manage to pull off. It was another song I requested when I saw them during their three night stint at the Pageant at St. Louis. I requested it for both shows I went to and was lucky enough to hear them play it on the first night, which made me a very happy Wilco fan.
Anyway, back to the song… The narrator got a DUI and can’t drive anymore, so he’s relying on his friend to get him around. Really, you get the idea that this person just likes to get drunk. While his friend is falling asleep behind the wheel and driving poorly, he’s concerned about his drink: “You’re gonna make me spill my beer/If you don’t learn how steer.” He feels like he’d be a better driver, but, like I mentioned, his license has been revoked.
The next verse is his attempt to convince the driver to take him out. “You’re the only sober person I know/Let me make you a deal/Just get behind the wheel” is his plea. Then comes that chorus again, where he laments the fact that he can’t drive anymore: “Passenger Side/Passenger Side/I don’t like riding on the passenger.” But after that is a really odd bridge section that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the song. He’s still complaining about how he can’t drive, but interjects: “I should have been your lover/But I hadn’t… Seen…” You don’t get the rest of that line, which Jeff Tweedy sings clumsily.
The last verse continues expressing the narrator’s neediness. Interestingly, while he had been irresponsible and wanting to go out in the previous two verses, the last one is more serious. “Can you take me to the store and then the bank?/I’ve got five dollars we can put in the tank/I’ve got a court date coming this June/I’ll be driving soon”: is sung by the narrator while he’s sober, trying to get his day-to-day tasks done. What happens at that court date is anybody’s guess, though…
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: A.M., alt-country, disappointment, I Thought I Held You, Jeff Tweedy, songwriter, Wilco
It’s all about disappointment… If you really think about it, the music perfectly represents feeling disappointed. There are whining pedal steel guitars, a banjo part that just trudges along, and the lone drum at 2:26 that just keeps going after the other instruments stop. (You almost feel bad for it…) But, like in most Wilco songs, the lyrics are what really make the song.
The song starts with the narrator comparing the person being sung about to “a moon that’s full/across a sea of foam.” But right after that is when the part about being disappointed comes in: “I don’t think you even understand/I thought I held you by the hand/I thought I held you.” That makes it clear that the person has left the narrator alone, hence the sadness. However, to add fuel to the fire, the person who let him down doesn’t even realize that she hurt him. The second verse is my favorite in the song: “I’m like a songwriter/You’re the reason/I’ve run out/Run out of metaphors.” Of course, this is funny because the first verse is entirely metaphors. But once he expresses that disappointment, it’s like he doesn’t feel like talking about her so romantically anymore… (Understandably)
Filed under: Being There | Tags: A.M., alt-country, Being There, Belleville, Chicago, Grant Park, Jeff Tweedy, Lollapalooza, Misunderstood, Monday, Rolling Stones, Uncle Tupelo, Wilco
I’ve been lucky enough to hear this song twice live, and it’s always a highlight in the set. There’s really nothing like having a theater (or Grant Park) full of people screaming “NOTHING!” over and over at the end of this one. Supposedly, the song is about the collapse of Uncle Tupelo, with some lyrics being lifted from a message Jay Farrar left on Jeff Tweedy’s answering machine. But what makes this song significant is the fact that it’s the beginning of Jeff Tweedy moving away from alt-country music. Sure, more recent albums have had folky numbers, but nothing like what was heard on an Uncle Tupelo album or from the first two Wilco discs.
It doesn’t feel at all out of place on the album, which is surprising. Disc one of Being There is inconsistent stylistically, ranging from Rolling Stones-esque stompers like “Monday” to bouncy country tunes like “Forget the Flowers.” However, “MIsunderstood” sounds like Wilco. The vocals go back and forth between the two Jeff Tweedy styles: the low-sore-throat Jeff Tweedy and that famous Tweedy yelp. It’s like the band piled on everything they could to make this song sound huge. For example, that mess of sound at the end is the result of the band members switching instruments and just making a whole hell of a lot of noise.
So this song can be seen as the point where Wilco left A.M. behind and starting to head towards where they are now, using the studio as an instrument. But however much the music changes, Tweedy’s lyrics will still be what truly makes a Wilco song.