Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wilco's Best Songs

For my birthday this weekend, I'm going up to South Lake Tahoe. I'll probably play some table games, enjoy the scenery, but the main event is Sunday night when I'll see Wilco at the outdoor amphitheater. Being that they are one of my favorite bands, I thought it was appropriate to mention some of their best songs. In truth, all of their songs are very good, but here are some highlights (in no particular order):

- Dash 7 - From their first album "A.M" this song is ridiculous. It's tuned down a step (I believe) and it is a perfect moderate ballad about a jet fighter. It gives away the direction would head to in future albums (they were originally tabbed as Alternative/Country/Americana but are currently in boarderline experimental Rock.)

- Sunken Treasure - Off of "Being Here" I once saw them play this song live in Chicago at the Vic Theater while Jeff Tweedy's amp was not grounded. His guitar was shocking him the whole song yet he performed it quite flawlessly. After the song they had to make some adjustments and did an extra-long acoustic set (and took requests from the audience.) It was the best $60 I've ever paid a scalper.

- Lonely 1 - This song looks at the musician from the fan's perspective. It's a beautiful ballad that reminds me (somewhat) of what it was like going to see shows as a teenager. I've since become more jaded and picky, but this song comes from a very pure, almost naive place. I play it live ever so often.

- She's a Jar - This song was played during the aforementioned acoustic set at the Vic. I don't think they play it all that often (but here's to hoping they do on Sunday!) This is a really trippy song that veers into the topic of unhealthy abuse, but it is masked by a gorgeous acoutic guitar. Definitely worth checking out.

- Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway - I don't know why they didn't put spaces in between the words in the title, but this is poppy, almost Beatles-esque. It's quite the upbeat number off of the great album "Summerteeth."

- Magazine Called Sunset - This is a rarity off of an online only EP, but it's a great song. I believe it was feature at one point during the documentary "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." It's a black and white film about the making of their "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" album. If you're into documentaries, this one is a must. There is a lot more drama than one would expect of an album creation.

- Pot Kettle Black - This is one of the first Wilco songs I ever really got into. My buddy made me a mix when I visited San Diego. The mix was full of Ryan Adams, The Shins, Badly Drawn Boy and other great songs. This one stood out above the rest. Highly recommended.

- Poor Places - This is such a twisted folk song that is produced into a pretty experimental jam. It's almost the same riff throughout the song (until the very end) but the addition and subtraction of instruments lead to a great sonic experience. Definitely worth finding a pair of Bose or Shure headphones to get the full effect.

- Either Way - One of the songs used on the VW commercials a few years back- this is just relaxing. I will occasionally put this song on if I'm having a bad day, and it usually brightens it (if only slightly.) It sets the tone for the "Sky Blue Sky" album in a great way.

- Walken - This song will play when Future Mrs. B. and I are announced at the wedding reception. It's that good. It's the perfect mix of poppy hook, jamming guitar, confusing tempo, and tight instrumentation. This is one of their finest works.

- One Wing - This is off the new album that "drops" in a week. I haven't listened to enough of it to call out all the songs, but this one really calls out to me. I love the groove and it proves to me that Wilco is still on the right path.

Wilco is a great band. I hope this inspires someone to invest the time into checking them out (or just to go back and listen to them some more!) A truly inventive band that does it in a more subtle way than a band like Radiohead (not that Radiohead is bad, they're just outwardly creative.) Wilco is a must own for any record (CD/mp3) collection.


GMoney said...

The only Wilco song that I know is "Hesitating Beauty" and it is fantastic.

Tony B. said...

G$, you should definitely check out more of their stuff. I didn't count the Wilco & Billy Bragg albums that that song hails from in this list, but they excellent as well.