Although I’ve never been a full-blown fan of the band, I’ve made a habit of keeping up with each new Wilco release, buying about two thirds of their albums over the years. The band’s latest album, The Whole Love, has been in my rotation the last month. It’s my favorite album by them since Summerteeth. That doesn’t mean I like it without reservations and anxieties that a man my age should not experience over a rock ‘n roll album. But I do, and you know I will share.
In the coming days I will revisit some of the band’s earlier releases, pulling out my original reviews at the time of their release. I hope you find the development in my views on the band enlightening, but let’s start in the present tense…after the jump!
I enjoyed this review and look forward to your other thoughts on Wilco, KingEd. I used to love this band, but we’ve grown apart. This album has a couple of good songs (“Art of Almost,” “I Might”), but a lot of boring stuff. I agree with you, the snoozy songs all pretty much blow.
I’ve always liked the idea of Wilco, but haven’t spent a lot of time with their records. Saw them quite a long time ago at Glastonbury, around the end of the 90s probably, just what was called for on a warm and mercifully dry afternoon. I always got the sense that they were a bit hit and miss. So which would be the entry album, and why? I’m prepared to give it a go.
Disc 1 of Being There (their second). Skip the first song and it is a near perfect cd.
I love the concept of Wilco. And they seem like really nice guys. But while I enjoy a number of their songs, their music ultimately strikes me as being too boring. It’s high-quality modern rock by the numbers. There aren’t very many lyrics out of place, and the occasional out-of-place musical elements sound calculated.
In the world of rock music, I don’t think it’s enough to be very good at what you. You’ve got to be a little off, or wild, or surprisingly new, or just plain brilliant to be interesting. I’m missing that with Wilco, but it’s not for a lack of trying (both by me and the band).
Really they are just too earnest for me.
Thanks for the read, King Ed. I was going to submit a thread over the Christmas break describing my desire for Wilco (read Jeff Tweedy) to disband immediately and form a new band. Preferably with a co-writer/guitarist on par with Jay Bennett.
See, I used to love Wilco big time. Of course, I preferred Tweedy’s material over Jay Farrar in Uncle Tupelo. The first 4 Wilco albums are treasures in my collection. But it all started to fall apart after I saw the movie I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. A statement was uttered that would forever sour me on Wilco. Actually it was Jay Bennett of all people who was describing the philosophy of the songs on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I’m paraphrasing but it went something like this
“There our songs. We created them, so we can destroy them if we want to.”
What! Screw that. I’m sorry, but not only is that pretentious it shows what a complete lack of respect Wilco(see Jeff Tweedy) has for their fans. I have never been able to warm up to anything that follows. The self indulgent A Ghost Is Born proves my point. The song are either overproduced or reduced to the shell of anything resembling soul or passion.
Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest.
My favorite Wilco albums are not by Wilco per se: Loose Fur and the Glen Kotche solo album. I haven’t really heard the older stuff, though, but it all seems of-a-piece as I understand it, so it may not matter so much which one you start with.
I do have a decent method for trying to answer your question applicable to any random band: if their first album is good for newbs, it’s probably their best album.
After seeing the movie not yet having heard YHT, I was a little disappointed at how normal-sounding the album is.
Yeah, except for a couple of noisy diversions YHT was a lot less adventurous then Summerteeth. Even though I was big into the Alt-Country thing, I still welcomed the new sounds on Summerteeth. It is still my favourite Wilco album.
I enjoyed “Dawned on Me.” I read a review that compared that track to ELO, and the prospect of Wilco doing it’s take on Jeff Lynne intrigued me. I’m a sucker for that shit.
I kind of agree with King Ed’s last point that if you let Wilco go for a bit and then put on the CDs, you appreciate them more.
I just listend to A.M. the other day — I like Box Full of Letters and Passenger Side more today than I did it when the album came out. I liked Being There right out of the box, but I kind of ignored Summerteeth at first and now it’s close to the top of the stacks.