Pointer to article:
I have and love Wilco’s latest two albums, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” and “A Ghost is Born”—actually went to Border’s and bought the CDs. I also have a purely-downloadable-for-free-thanks-to-our-fans-for-buying-“Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” EP that they released online between the two albums. I also love (but still haven’t gone out and bought, for some reason) their late-90s “Mermaid Avenue” recordings with Billy Bragg, wherein the Yanks and bloke set great new music to great old unsung lyrics from the incredibly great Woody Guthrie.
The quality of Wilco’s music isn’t my beef. I just worry that this band is setting itself up for the inevitable “they suck” backlash that comes from being embraced too tightly by the “cool” digerati and music aficionados. Wilco’s had this “cool” indie prestige for years, far outstripping their actual sales and popularity. They’ve become more a symbol than a band. Though they’re very much a band, and an excellent quirky one. If you actually listen to Wilco’s music, you can’t help wondering how they continue to pull it off: Jeff Tweedy’s voice is feeble at best, their song structures shamble all over the place, their lyrics are occasionally lame and pretentious, and they can’t seem to nail the pop-music hooks that they’re sorta trying to hit.
But I love popping their CDs into the player. And playing them over and over. They’ve got that same goofy shaggy-dog folk/rock-street cred that, say, Neil Young pioneered. And, like Neil Young, they somehow rock memorably against all odds.
No, I don’t manage the band. But I sorta wish all of their “Wilco-as-symbol” devotees would cool it. So the band—actually, let’s cut through the fiction here—Tweedy himself is Wilco—can just make that fun-to-listen-to music.
Why did I label this post “lol”? I think it was because I laughed a sardonic laugh when I saw that “Wilco is the future of music” headline. Heaven help us. God, no more strangling embraces.
Lessig: Just let this band be.