Sunday, January 11, 2009

Classic Album Rewind: Wilco - Being There

I've always admired artists that could come up with a enough solid material to put together a double album. Some of my favorite albums are doubles such as The Who's mod rock opera Quadrophenia, The Clash's landmark London Calling, The Beatles White Album, Bruce Springsteen's The River and from the 90's Wilco's Being There.

Jeff Tweedy formed Wilco after parting ways with his fellow Uncle Tupelo band mates Jay Farrar and Mike Heidorn (who formed half of the original Son Volt). Jeff, along with bassist John Stirratt, drummer Ken Coomer and multi-instrumnentalist Max Johnston released their debut CD A.M. in 1995. The reviews of the release were somewhat of a disapointment compared to the favorable reviews that Son Volt's debut Trace had recieved.

With the pressure on to deliver, the band proceeded to record the next album; bringing in several other musicians including Jay Bennet, another very tallented multi-instrumental musician. The recording process produced 19 songs, too many for a single album. So the classic Being There was born. The album title was taken from the Peter Seller's movie of the same name. Disc 1

  • Misunderstood - The opening song is one of the most powerful and best songs that Jeff Tweedy has written; very much in the vein of John Lennon. The song builds with tension until by the end Jeff is almost yelling "I want to thank you for nothing".

  • Far, Far Away - In this song the singer yearns to see and hold his girl. A beautiful ballad which features electric piano and pedal steel guitar.

  • Monday - A fun 70's rocker right out of The Rolling Stones or Big Star playbook shows that the band can rock it out.

  • Outtasite (Outta Mind) - Ditto - Another great rocker!

  • Forget the Flowers - A little country ditty featuring the banjo and pedal steel guitar

  • Red-Eyed and Blue - A great folk sounding song with a clever play on words title featuring guitar and piano; the lyrics are dark, but the music is somehow uplifting.

  • I Got You (End of the Century) - Another great rocker along the lines of Big Star.

  • What's The World Got In Store - A mid-tempo song featuring the banjo and organ.

  • Hotel Arizona - Great tune about being on the verge of making it big. I love the droning guitar and backing vocals.

  • Say You Miss Me - This mid-tempo ballad shows the ache of seperation from the singers loved one. The song contains some great background vocals.

[Wilco - Misunderstood (live Lollapolooza)]

[Wilco - Monday]

Disc 2

  • Sunken Treasure - Disc 2 begins with the hauntingly-pain soaked Sunken Treasure in which Jeff sings "I am so out of tune with you".

  • Someday Soon - A country tune with a more positive message.

  • Outta Mind (Outta Site) - A more popier/less rocking version of disc 1's Outtasite (Outta Mind).

  • Someone Else's Song - A folk ballad from a long time ago or at least that's what is sounds like.

  • Kingpin - A funky little tune with some clever & funny word-play.

  • Was I In Your Dreams? - A slow tune in which the singer is questioning his girl on the telephone about missing him.

  • Why Would You Wanna Live? - I love the false beginning; Another slow tune with faint echoes of John Lennon

  • The Lonely 1 - A lonely folk ballad from the point of view of an over zealous fan of his gutar hero.

  • Dreamer in My Dreams - A ragged Faces meet Stones rocker that sounds like the wheel may come off at any moment (which it does in the end, but they just crank it back up). Great ending to a great CD.

[Jeff Tweedy - Sunken Treasure]

[Wilco - I Got You (At The End of the Century)]

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