Day 102: Wilco – A Ghost Is Born

10 Jun

Hummingbird

What?  Wait, what just happened?  Did I just listen to a Wilco album?  No…it couldn’t have been.  There’s no way.  I mean, they’re Wilco, they’re only capable of making great music, right?  Here’s my theory regarding the making of A Ghost is Born—Wilco, or possibly just Jeff Tweedy, was kidnapped or abducted by aliens for a few years after the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.  The captors were just as awestruck by the beauty that is YHF, they just had to have the man/band behind it. During those two years, Nonesuch wanted to keep the Wilco money train going, so they got a guy who sounded like Tweedy, but was not capable of writing good lyrics, and also loved—I mean loved—guitar solos.  Tweedy was returned safe and sound eventually, as Wilco (The Album) is really freaking good too.  I don’t know if he made it back in time for Sky Blue Sky, but I’ll find out in a couple of days.

How farfetched is that?  Honestly, it can’t be too far off.  Before Tweedy disappeared, he had recorded a few songs already, and those made it onto GhostWishful Thinking and Hummingbird definitely have that old-school-awesome Wilco sound, but that’s about all the good that I can say regarding A Ghost is Born.  And this is the record that won the 2005 Grammy for Best Alternative Album, whatever that means.

Wilco is not the band that makes 15-minute drone tracks.  They just don’t pull crap like that.  Fake Wilco does though; just give Less Then You Think a listen.  What is going on here?

A Ghost Is Born proves one thing: it’s hard to come back with something good after a highly acclaimed piece.  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is amazing, and maybe Wilco didn’t want to appear to be recreating that record with a different name.  They should have done that, though.  It would have been better than Ghost.

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