Filed under: Summerteeth | Tags: A Shot In The Arm, Addiction, Album, Black Eye, Drugs, Jeff Tweedy, Needle, Solo, Summerteeth, Sunken Treasure, Veins, Wilco
While I love this song (every version of it), I can’t help but get a little frustrated during the performance on the Sunken Treasure DVD. It starts off with that guy who yells that “Black Eye” sucks and a joke about the audience policing themselves but morphs into a mini train wreck. He gets a few lines in, forgets the words… Starts over… Messes up the words again… Stops entirely and exclaims “I’ve only played this song, like, seven fucking billion times!” I mean, I guess that whole scene adds character to the performance, but I could really just do without it.
I feel like this song is one of the best examples of Summerteeth‘s pretty music/dark lyrics style. There’s a really nice chiming piano, some cool synthesizer groans and buzzes and the noise that kicks in and takes the song to a whole new level. I really wasn’t able to look too deep into this song, because drugs jumped at me right off the bat. I realize the idiom “a shot in the arm” means something that gives you extra energy or strength, but I decided that since abusive relationships, death (murder/suicide), and just about every other awful thing in the world can be found on this album, it only makes sense that there would be a song about being addicted to drugs.
The narrator is singing the song to himself, looking at the bad shape he’s in. The opening lines show him staying up late into the night, smoking lots of cigarettes and going to bed a depressed, sweaty (this is what “your pillow wept” makes me think of) mess. I’m not a big fan of how they rhyme “C” with “sea” in the second verse, but I can look past that. He then comments to himself, “You’ve changed.” But he thinks all he needs is another hit to help him escape these feelings of guilt and shame he experiences when he’s normal. To elevate himself to something other than just normal life, he needs the drugs (“something in my veins/bloodier than blood”). Still, he realizes that it’s not good for him and that he needs to change. (What you once were isn’t what you want to be anymore”)
Filed under: Being There | Tags: B-Side, Being There, Country, Disc 2, DVD, Guitar, Jay Bennett, Jeff Tweedy, Live, Piano, Solo, Sunken Treasure, Wilco
I’ve heard Wilco play “Sunken Treasure” twice in concert, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. However, I couldn’t help but wish they would have performed it like the version that appeared on Being There. There’s nothing wrong with the folkier rendition, but if you listen to the emotion found in the live recording of a Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett acoustic performance of it (featuring some very nice piano), “Sunken Treasure” has a lot more potential as a live track. It’s understandable that Jeff would play the folk version at his solo shows, since he can’t reproduce that wall of sound on his own, but I feel like the band could do a fine job with it.
This is, lyrically, a high point for Jeff Tweedy. “Sunken Treasure” does a great job of expressing the disillusionment the narrator has found with life. It’s theme is pretty similar to “Summer Teeth.” The subject of that song lives a pathetic life where he just goes through the motions. The first verse of “Sunken Treasure” shows the monotony of everyday life, with all of these people sitting at home in front of their televisions. Then comes the admission that “There is no sunken treasure.” Whatever it is that had been his goal in life is unattainable, and he’s finally realized it. He paid so much attention to that goal, he forgot the people around him that he loved. (“I am so out of tune with you…”)
The second verse is the narrator reflecting on his mistakes. He sees himself as an undeserving failure and feels that he’s been wasting his life focusing on the aforemntioned goal. The nautical theme of the song continues in this verse with the mention of a boat, the one presumably being used to try and find the “sunken treasure.” My guess is that the boat represents his life, which he feels like could have been better used by someone else who wasn’t dumb enough to focus on finding the “sunken treasure.”
The greatest verse is the last one:
For all the leaves we’ll burn
In autumn fires and then return
For all the fires we burn
All will return
Really, I don’t feel I can say much more than the song doesn’t express on its own…
Filed under: Summerteeth | Tags: Death, Devil Without A Cause, Happy, Jeff Tweedy, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit, Live, Miserable, Pop, Significant Other, Single, Summer Teeth, Summerteeth, Sunken Treasure, Wilco
I’ve always felt like just about every song on Summerteeth could have been released as a single. There are a few tracks that aren’t quite poppy enough, but I think they could have had some serious hits. Of course, the album was released right about the same time as big-sellers like Kid Rock’s Devil Without A Cause and Limp Bizkit’s Significant Other, which were dominating radio at the time. So maybe the time wasn’t quite right…
One of my first picks to be a single would have been today’s song. Like most of the songs on the album, the music is very slick and poppy while the lyrics are dark. It’s about someone with a pretty lousy life who just goes through the motions until he eventually dies. He doesn’t do anything, and his life is a waste. There’s one line in particular that really jumps out at me, and that’s “He hits snooze twice before he dies.” He keeps putting everything off until he doesn’t have any time left to waste. There’s no reason for him to look forward to his life anyway, it’s not like anything happens. He just eats alone, sleeps, wakes up, does it all over again…
I also love the really nice “Ooh ooh… Aah aah…” part at the end, which is what really completes this song for me. (Hearing the audience do it on Sunken Treasure is one of my favorite Wilco moments) “Summerteeth” sure is a pleasant listen, as are the rest of the songs on the album that bear its name.