Truth be told it's only in the last few months that I've come to really appreciate the genius that is Wilco! Seeing "A Ghost Is Born" and "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" in and around the top of all the "Best of the Noughties" lists caught my eye and I delved a little deeper...
Anyone that hasn't already explored the wonders of Wilco's back catalogue, I'd urge you to get to it right away!
The first album I picked up was "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" as I'd already heard 'Jesus, Etc.' Much to my delight, the rest of the record is of the same high standard. Opening number 'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart' is a beautiful track, and as the record progresses it is followed by a stunning array of tracks, the pick of the bunch are 'Kamera' and 'Jesus, Etc.'. The album breathes effortlessly into its second half where we encounter the rather light-hearted Heavy Metal Drummer' and the shamelessly patriotic 'Ashes of American Flags'. This album is a rarity - one which I can put on and play in its entirety over and over... A must have for any record collection.
Next up was "A Ghost Is Born". Huge critical acclaim drew me in, and yet again I was more than happy with what I found. The album as a whole is a marvel, with the first five tracks standing out in particular. 'At Least That's What You Said' is genuinely one of the finest album openers I've ever heard. 'Muzzle of Bees' and 'Hell is Chrome' are stunning tracks, but the picks of the bunch for me are 'Spiders (Kidsmoke)' [at just shy of 11 minutes, this one is quite an achievement!] and 'Hummingbird'. The latter is quite a light-hearted, simple sounding song; though there's quite a bit going on underneath.
In the last week I bought the band's latest release "Wilco (The Album)" and it hasn't been out of my stereo since. 'Wilco (The Song)', 'Bull Black Nova' and a gorgeous duet with Feist 'You and I' have really captured my imagination. A triumph.
I've explored the rest of Wilco's work over the last few weeks. For die-hard fans I'm sure "Summerteeth", "AM" and "Being There" will all be a necessity, though I've yet to really get into them. Over time I'm sure. "Sky Blue Sky" I found to be quite enjoyable, an album I'm rather looking forward to playing again. The live album "Kicking Television: Live From Chicago" is a great experience too. Wilco are quite fairly considered among the best live bands in the world at the moment, and this showcases that excellently.
Finally I got my hands on the two albums the band have recorded with Billy Bragg "Mermaid Avenue I & II". Bragg and Wilco took hoards of unrecorded Woody Guthrie lyrics and put them to music to great effect. "California Stars" is my favourite so far...
So I urge you to explore the magnificence of Wilco if you haven't already. And enjoy listening to some old favourites if you already have!
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.