Filed under: Sky Blue Sky | Tags: Bono, Country, Dad Rock, Folk, Guitar, Leave Me Like You Found Me, Lyrics, Music, Relationship, Rock, Sky Blue Sky, Wilco
I ended my post about “Feed of Man” saying that I didn’t intend to write about it last. Well, I absolutely put this one off as long as I possibly could. Really, if I can tie today’s post in with my last two, this is a song I truly find to be boring. It just rolls along with average lyrics (I feel like the final verse could have been written by Bono) and some truly adult-contemporary sounding music. If the guys in Wilco were afraid of sounding like dad-rock, this is the closest they’ve ever come to the (possibly nonexistent?) genre.
While I may complain about the song itself, I have to admit that I really like the concept and title, and I feel like it’s a feeling a lot of people experience at the end of a relationship. (Especially a serious one) All you want is for things to go back to normal and resume your life like absolutely nothing happened. Of course, that usually isn’t how it works…
Filed under: Mermaid Avenue | Tags: Another Man's Done Gone, Folk, Mermaid Ave., Mermaid Avenue, Nora Guthrie, Piano, simple, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
I feel like this song should have been the final track on the album. I guess I can understand why it wasn’t, since it’s so sad and slow (and really short). But I like the idea of the album closing on a quieter note than it started. Mermaid Avenue is a journey the listener takes from “Walt Whitman’s Niece” to “Hoodoo Voodoo” to “Another Man’s Done Gone.” There’s so much ground covered, it’s one of Wilco’s most impressive accomplishments. They worked on lyrics they didn’t know that much about, and it’s not like they could ask the author to clarify anything for them…
This song benefits from the simplicity the band applied to it. Yes, I really like it when they modernize the music to with the old lyrics (proof that they’re timeless), but these songs were never made for complex music. This lone piano is able to express more than any wall of guitars, synths and mellotrons could.
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: Mermaid Avenue Vol. II, Uncategorized | Tags: Banjo, Billy Bragg, Country, Folk, Joe DiMaggio's Done It Again, Man in the Sand, Mermaid Avenue, Mermaid Avenue II, Nora Guthrie, Volume II, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
I appreciate how Wilco gave the songs on Mermaid Avenue, Vol. II a new, slicker sound. Really, I do… But there’s something about songs like that “California Stars” and “Airline To Heaven” that just seems to stick more than the others. Really, I tend to prefer the songs they kept folky as opposed to the ones they modernized with only one exception. “Secret of the Sea” has always been one of my absolute favorites from the project, just because of it’s Summerteethiness. (I just can’t help it!)
I just don’t know about “Joe DiMaggio’s Done It Again”, though. I appreciate it for what it is: a fun novelty song. It’s no surprise that it doesn’t mean as much to me as something like “At My Window Sad and Lonely” or “One By One”, but I have to say I prefer “Hoodoo Voodoo” to it by a lot. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a Yankees fan…
Filed under: Summerteeth | Tags: Acoustic, Drugs, Folk, Jeff Tweedy, Needle, Rock, She's A Jar, Solo, Summerteeth, University, Violence, Wilco
This is another one of those Wilco songs that I have a specific memory about. I was listening to it the day I went to turn in my key at my old job at a record store. I remember it was then, sitting in my 1998 Ford Escort, that I realized just how great of a song it is. My favorite song on Summerteeth had been “I’m Always In Love”, but it found itself a rival in “She’s A Jar.” It’s a slow burner that seems to fly by every time I listen to it. (Even though it’s nearly five minutes long)
There’s been a lot of discussion about this one among Wilco fans, most notably the final line. The final verse is nearly the same as the first, but it replaces “She begs me not to miss her” with “She begs me not to hit her.” Is it referring to physical abuse or some other form of violence? There are a few mentions of murder and suicide on Summerteeth, so it wouldn’t be surprising that it just adds to the rest of the turbulent imagery. Of course, it could also refer to drugs. I feel like this is more likely, with lines such as “Just climb aboard the tracks on a train’s arms.”
I was talking to another fan after a show, and he said that when Jeff was doing a solo show at some university, there was a feminist group who came to protest. Of course, when he did this song, all hell broke loose…
Filed under: Mermaid Avenue | Tags: Acoustic, Billy Bragg, Country, Folk, Hesitating Beauty, Man in the Sand, Mermaid Avenue, Nora Guthrie, Rock, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
While I appreciate Mermaid Avenue, Vol II for the different direction the band took Woody Guthrie’s songs in, there’s something about the classic folk sound on the first collection that I find hard to resist. While there are songs that have become Wilco classics, such as “California Stars”, there are a quite a few that often get looked over. Somewhere between those forgotten songs and the classics is “Hesitating Beauty.” It’s got a really nice bounce to it and, in my opinion, is one of the strongest songs to come out of the project.
I’d also say that this song has one of my favorite opening lines of all time. There isn’t much that compares with “For your sparkling, cocky smile/I’ve walked a million miles/Begging you to come and wed me in the spring.” As I’ve mentioned before, I wasn’t too familiar with Woody Guthrie’s songwriting before this album. I’m really glad I was able to hear these songs, though. I had no idea he had such a great since of humor, and I now have a whole new sense of respect for the man.
Filed under: A.M. | Tags: A.M., Country, Folk, Funky, Guitar, Lyrics, Murmur, Nels Cline, R.E.M., Rock, simple, Sky Blue Sky, Too Far Apart, Wilco
I think it’s kind of funny how the last song on Wilco’s first album sounds like something that would have been found on their most recent. Of course, the guitars aren’t as crisp and clean as the ones found on Sky Blue Sky, but it sounds a lot like that lovechild of folk and funk that album represents to me. When I listen to the album version of “Too Far Apart”, I can’t help but imagine Nels Cline just going wild all over it. If the band does the requests through their website for the upcoming tour, you’d better believe that I’m going to enter this one. I know, I know… It’s a long shot… Still, a boy can dream!
The lyrics are, like the rest of A.M., pleasantly and charmingly simple. For a band who went on to record songs like “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” that are about as mysterious as anything off of R.E.M.’s Murmur, it’s kind of funny to see them in such a different stage. That’s one of the great things about Wilco, you get to grow with them!
Filed under: Non-Album Songs | Tags: Acoustic, Album, Country, Crosby, CSNY, Folk, Harmony, Moor Like The Moon EP, Nash, Stills, Summerteeth, Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Young
You know, between “Nothing Up My Sleeve”, “Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard”, and “A Magazine Called Sunset”, it starts to look like the album that became Yankee Hotel Foxtrot began going in a completely different album. There’s a really obvious pop sensibility that was lacking on a lot of the tracks included on the album. It retains the slick, sometimes summery feeling the band perfected on Summerteeth, but seems to have been ditched for the more experimental, using-the-studio-as-an-instrument sound.
Another interesting influence is the retro folk vibe these tracks give off. There are CSNY-style harmonies on “Nothing Up My Sleeve”, as well as exotic percussion and campfire-song style guitars. Part of me likes to think there’s an abandoned Wilco album with songs like this that will surface someday… I don’t know… I guess I should know better…
Filed under: Mermaid Avenue | Tags: Alternative, At My Window Sad And Lonely, Billy Bragg, Country, Folk, Jeff Tweedy, Mermaid Avenue, Nora Guthrie, Rock, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
This is one of those songs I always catch myself forgetting about until I listen to Mermaid Avenue straight through. It’s impossible to let “California Stars” or “Hoodoo Voodoo” slip your mind, but this one just never seems to stick. The funny thing is, every time I hear it, I have the same reaction. I always forget just how enjoyable of a song this is, with absolutely timeless lyrics. The music is impressive, too. I feel like this is exactly what Nora Guthrie was hoping to hear when she handed over her father’s lyrics. There’s that classic folk sound combined with a 1990s modern rock edge, creating a sound that’s distinctive to this album.
While Billy Bragg got some anthem songs (“I Guess I Planted”) and some really pretty numbers, it seems like Wilco got the sad ones. Sure, they have stompers like “Christ For President” and “Hoodoo Voodoo”, but then there’s “One By One”, “Another Man’s Done Gone” and today’s song. Maybe that’s just because Jeff Tweedy is really good at sounding sad… Just a thought…
Part of me wishes this song would have been on Mermaid Avenue, Vo. II so we could hear a much more modern take on the lyrics. It seems like the band was too cautious on the first album, but really got comfortable with the songs on the follow-up. It’s still a great listen, but “At My Window Sad And Lonely” would sound even better with an updated, Summerteeth-y treatment.