Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wherein I pass judgement on Jeff Tweedy after 7:45 of material

The proprietor of this publishing venture has crowned me "expert in all things Wilco." This, of course, is true. The thing I'm not an expert on is any other musical artist, genre or period. So, I can only compare Wilco to itself -- or, more precisely, Jeff to Jeff.

(Or, if I stretch, Jeff to Geoff.)

Luckily, there's new grist for my one talent: two tracks from Wilco's upcoming (and highly anticipated) Sky Blue Sky were leaked last week. I grabbed them and took a listen.

Here's the thing: these two tracks sound like nothing else Jeff has done (save for maybe some of those psuedo-unreleased Yankee Hotel tracks like "Magazine called Sunset" or that one about Dylan growin' a lotta facial hair.) They're simple, jammy and not nearly as gravely as Jeff usually is. Both are similar enough that it sounds like the album as a whole is going to have a new sound -- smoother and less prone to discordant rock out sections that marked the last two records. "You Are My Face" features a rock-out guitar solo in the middle, of course. (We're not reinventing the wheel totally: it's still Wilco). But the grit of angst seems to be fading. Maybe Jeff's methadone hits and t-shirt millions are finally kicking in -- he's crafting a summer album and not an autumn record.

Here's my assessment: No one is gonna be embarrassed by this one -- neither the fans, nor Jeff.

But, then again, what fun is Wilco if you don't listen to the album for the first time and think, "What the hell is this shite!?!"...But then slowly grow to think, "Only Jeff can turn modern times into music." We'll have to see with Sky Blue Sky, because you can only have the second reaction if you've been through the first.

(Dead Idolator link.)

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