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: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot | Tags: America, Blog, Connect, David Letterman, Jeff Tweedy, Jesus Etc., Kicking Television, Morrissey, Music, Nels Cline, Rock, Ryan Adams, The Smiths, Violin, Wilco, Wordpress, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, YouTube
I can remember the first time I listened to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot back when I was in high school. I came home, listened to it straight through, and immediately went online to look for live clips of the songs. The first one I searched for was “Jesus, Etc.” I found a really great version from an appearance the band made on Letterman, and then there were the billion other recordings people had done. Tweedy solo performances… Crappy quality audience shots… And then there was the violin-less version that the most recent incarnation of Wilco has been playing. The slide guitar in the intro doesn’t have the same effect on me as the violin, but I understand that they can’t reproduce everything just like they recorded it.
I’m not really sure why this seems to be the quintessential Wilco song to so many people. I can’t deny that it’s great, but I find it a bit odd that so many people connect with it. Why not “Ashes of American Flags” or “War on War?” I think the answer all lies in how the song is presented. All of those feelings people were experiencing in early 21st century America were in this recording. Sadness… Fear… Uncertainty… This song did what The Smiths did back in the 1980s: it reached out to this group of people who felt disconnected and resonated more than anything else had.
This symbol of strength that so many people turn to (Jesus) has to be comforted by the narrator because things are so bad. He’s talking to Jesus like they’re just a couple of guys hanging out. A couple of very thoughtful/emotional guys, but you get what I mean… The narrator manages to have just a little bit of optimism, however. Notice how the lyrics change from “each one is a setting sun” to “each one is a burning sun” in the last verse.
Well, that does it for the blog. I’ve had a really great time, and if there are any b-side/outtake requests, I’d be glad to take them on. I’ll probably post on here now and again, but you can find me over at www.starlitediner.wordpress.com posting about Ryan Adams from now on.
Thanks for reading,
Filed under: Being There | Tags: Alternative, Being There, Country, Disc 1, Dr. Pepper, Overlooked, Rock, Say You Miss Me, Wilco
This is one of the most overlooked tracks on Being There. It doesn’t get the love it deserves from Wilco fans, including myself. I mean, I did wait until the final week of this project to post about it, didn’t I? It’s got a really great sound that I tend to forget about until I listen to it, and then I seem to forget it again. Really, it’s a lot like my relationship with Dr. Pepper. I hadn’t had it in a long time, and then I had it and remembered how amazing it is. So right now I’m going through that period where I’m drinking it nonstop, and eventually I’m going to get sick of it and leave it alone for a long time…
I’d say this song is very representative of the Wilco sound, even though it’s not one of their best. While it definitely has those country roots, there’s a great pop sensibility and alternative edge to it. Really, this song would be the best way to introduce someone to pre-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco…
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: A Ghost Is Born | Tags: A Ghost Is Born, Album, At Least That's What You Said, Boring, Guitar, Lyrics, Misunderstood, Opener, Piano, Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
On my first listen to A Ghost Is Born, I found myself feeling incredibly let down by hearing “At Least That’s What You Said” as the opening song. It didn’t have the intensity of “Misunderstood”, the lifting effect of “Can’t Stand It” or the beautiful haziness of “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.” Wilco had always been a band that I was excited to listen to, but this song just felt (I can’t believe I’m actually admitting to this) incredibly boring to me. There wasn’t any of the lush, atmospheric noise I had been expecting from the album, and the lyrics (while meaningful and, like a lot of mid-career Wilco lyrics, violent)) didn’t really do anything for me.
And that’s when the song took a change for the better. I was about ready to skip the track, when all of a sudden came this slightly twangy, overdriven, repetitive guitar and piano part! It was a musical version of the “Nothing!”-s at the end of “Misunderstood”, followed by lots and lots of messy lead guitar playing and bouncing pianos. This track was truly saved by rock and roll…
Filed under: Mermaid Avenue Vol. II | Tags: Billy Bragg, Butcher, Feed of Man, Mermaid Ave., Mermaid Avenue, Volume 2, Volume II, Wilco, Woody Guthrie
Oh Mermaid Avenue, Volume II… Like I say in every post about a song on this album, I really appreciate the different direction Wilco took the songs, but I feel like they all fall a little short with the exception of “Secret of the Sea” and a few others. This one has a really nice, dark groove to it, but it seems that they could have really expanded upon it. For example, I always wished “Feed of Man” would have been given a semi-punk treatment. Imagine how intense this song would have been if it was a little faster and more rocking! Or maybe they could have made it way slower and really play with the dynamics (moreso than they do already).
I didn’t intentionally save this song for last in my posts about the Mermaid Avenue projects, but I feel that it’s still a fitting place…
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: Summerteeth | Tags: 1960s, carefree, Happy, Least Fav, Pop, Rock, Summerteeth, When You Wake Up Feeling Old, Wilco
While this is my least favorite song on Summerteeth, I really can’t complain about it too much. It’s one of my least favorite Wilco songs, actually. Still, the only one I can say I honestly, truly, actively dislike is “Radio Cure.” This one at least has some personality that doesn’t make you want to bury your head underneath your pillow. It’s similar to “Was I In Your Dreams?” in that it has a really nice bouncy sound that is carefree without sounding stupidly happy. I’ve mentioned before that the second half of the album is a bit of a drag for me, and I’d be lying if i said this song wasn’t a contributor to that. It still has that slick, 1960s sound found on other tracks, but it just isn’t nearly as strong.
Filed under: Being There | Tags: Being There, Blues, Closer, Disc 2, Guitar, Live, Setlist, Spiders, Was I In Your Dreams?, Wilco
This song has never really done a whole lot for me. I mean, it’s a nice one to listen to, but I think there are quite a few songs on the album that are better. Still, it has a beautifully sloppy, carefree charm that the rest of the songs on the album definitely don’t have. So many of the songs are panicky, paranoid, and dark. This one, while it isn’t necessarily beaming with joy or rocking like some of the other tracks, just sounds comfortable. I’ve always felt like it would be a really nice song to finish a set with. Not only is it a nice little nod to the old-school Wilco fans, but that relaxed vibe is perfect for bringing everyone down from the explosive version of “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” they probably just experienced.
It isn’t a lyrical masterpiece… There’s no amazing guitar solo or lush, atmospheric sonic landscape… It’s just a bluesy song that is impossible to resist.
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.