Skip to main content

12 More By Wilco

 Sometimes and artist needs 12 more songs to summarize their career. Case in point...


The Wilco of the '10s was pretty befuddling, honestly. While on one hand the line-up that has been together since 2007's Sky Blue Sky contains the best and most stable group of musicians the band has ever had, their albums have swung wildly in style, from pop traditionalism to experimental maximalism to hushed minimalism.

Once again, I've avoided any tracks which were on What's Your 20? (1994 - 2014), which kept "You and I," "Wilco (The Song)," "You Never Know," and "I Might" off this list. 

Before diving in, give a look at the original 12 by Wilco


1. "Bull Black Nova" (from Wilco (The Album), 2009)
Why not start off with a weird one? When I saw them in concert recently, the band played this song, and a fan in the front row held up a handwritten sign with the song's title on it and showed it to the audience. I hadn't seen the sign before that moment, so I don't think he'd been using to to show the band as a request. That means he brought it for the express purpose of holding it up in the event the band played the song.

2. "One Wing" (from Wilco (The Album), 2009)
A relationship post-mortem that's heartbreaking but also very pretty.

3. "I'll Fight" (from Wilco (The Album), 2009)
Where "One Wing" seems resigned to the end of a romance, this one seems determined to make it work.

4. "Art of Almost" (from The Whole Love, 2011)
Wilco go Radiohead, with intriguing and hypnotic results.

5. "Dawned On Me" (from The Whole Love, 2011)
The band revisit that Summerteeth sound. I love the contrast between the fuzzy verses and the wide-open chorus, and of course the way the whole thing gives way to a "semi-ironic Beach Boys vocal pad."

6. "Random Name Generator" (from Star Wars, 2015)
Did they use a random name generator to name this album? 

7. "Magnetized" (from Star Wars, 2015)
Star Wars is the first Wilco album I've had trouble connecting with, but "Magnetized" is a standout. It has the shambling-but-lovely feeling of the the Beatles circa the White Album.

8. "If Ever I Was a Child" (from Schmilco, 2016)
A deceptively simple, acoustic stunner with introspective lyrics exploring the ways the narrator is broken: "I hunt for the kind of pain / That I can take."

9. "We Aren't the World (Safety Girl)" (from Schmilco, 2016)
A wobbly little tune that pairs well with "If Ever I Was a Child" thanks to the charity-single aping chorus: "We aren't the world / We aren't the children."

10. Love Is Everywhere (Beware)" (from Ode to Joy, 2019)
Ode to Joy is a low-key, unassuming album, and this waltz is no exception. It only gets showy on a repeated chiming guitar figure. Not-so-fun fact: Tweedy wrote the lyrics after participating in the 2017 Women's March and having a panic attack the same day.

11. "One and a Half Stars" (from Ode to Joy, 2019)
Ode to Joy was written, recorded, and released right before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this song seems perfectly suited to the days of quarantining: "I can't escape my domain."

12. "Everyone Hides" (from Ode to Joy, 2019)
From its title, this one also seems prescient of the pandemic, but it's actually about the ways everyone engages in some degree of outer and inner deception. Kind of like an update of Billy Joel's "The Stranger."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Weezer is the Definitive Gen X Band

I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout my g-g-g-generation.   One of the more fascinating side effects of the ever-intensifying culture wars is the emergence of generational mud-slinging battle between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Social media has played the role of both venue and promoter, and news outlets have done their best to cheer it on. As a member of the cohort that's situated between the two factions - Generation X - and thus removed from the fray, I've regarded this as an amusing sideshow in the never-ending circus of nauseating Internet discourse. The most illuminating part to me is how the conflict, and various reports about it, consistently omits the existence the generation between these two, and how very appropriate that is.   Now I'll start with the disclaimer that I'm well aware that no group of people is homogeneous. Generation X encompasses many different personality types, cultural experiences, economic realities, and a possible 15-year age difference (Gen Xers

20 From 2020

Every year since 2003 (coincidentally, the year I started this blog), I've made a compilation of some of my favorite songs of the year. I love the act of compiling and ordering, finding songs that speak to one another lyrically and that flow together seamlessly.  In order for the mixes to have longevity, I've typically avoided choosing too many songs that lyrically reflect the events of the year. That's gotten harder every year since 2016, and I was initially worried 2020 was going to be the tipping point. This year's mix might have looked a lot different if the presidential election had gone the other way. It would have certainly been more angry and despairing, and would have included such topical songs as Ben Folds's "2020," Ben Gibbard's "Proxima B," and Sloan's "Silence Trumps Lies." All good tunes, but I'm not sure how much I'll want to revisit them. Thankfully, instead, we have a mix with a variety of moods and cov

12 More by Jimmy Eat World

Sometimes an artist just needs 12  more  songs to summarize their career. Case in point... Sometimes your favorite band sneaks up on you. I'd been a Jimmy Eat World fan since the late 1990s, and have never missed one of their albums. But they didn't become my favorite band until a 2013 concert at First Avenue, where I found myself singing along with every single song by heart. It was then that I realized that for every phase of my adult life, Jimmy Eat World has been there to soundtrack it. You'll definitely want to check out the  12 by Jimmy Eat World  list to relive the first part of their career. 1. "Big Casino" (from Chase This Light , 2007) A highly caffeinated tune that contains one of my top ten all-time Jimmy Eat World lyrics: "Well there's lots of smart ideas in books I've never read / When the girls come talk to me I wish to hell I had." 2. "Always Be" (from  Chase This Light , 2007) Chase This Light came out when I was 30 yea