Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wilco - Being There

Release Date: October 29, 1996

★★★★★ Tracks:

Sunken Treasure

My introduction to Wilco was through Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and it's become one of those rare records that never gets old. Being as I liked it so much, I did what I always do when discovering new artists and worked my way backwards, downloading both Being There and Summerteeth. I never got around to listening to much of either one of them until now, but Being There, a double-album spanning 19 songs, is just not keeping my interest like YHF did.

I think Wilco's second album would be considered Americana. I don't really even know what that means, but according to Wikipedia, "Americana is popularly referred to, especially in print, as alternative country, alt-country or sometimes" And I think that's a pretty good fit. This is Good ol' Country-pop for the kids. Country was never my thing, but I can still listen to and enjoy an album from the genre should it include some catchy tunes and a touch of originality. Being There has a bit of both, but most of these tracks sound more like homages to their influences. "Far, Far Away," "Forget the Flowers," and "Why Would You Wanna Live?" are all nice acoustic, bluesy-country songs, with steel guitar, and the occasional banjo added for good measure. But the big-sounding, electric rock'n'roll songs like "Monday," "Outtasite," and especially "I Got You," with it's anthemed vocals, "I got you and it's all I need!" are just downright corny. If I'm ever in the mood for country rock, I'll most likely stick to my Neil Young and Bob Dylan records. I could do without Being There.

I did find one gem however, fittingly entitled "Sunken Treasure." A great line is repeated throughout the song, and Wilco adds a touch of experimentalism -- untuned guitars, out-of-key chords, and trippy vocal effects -- that helps to compliment the subject matter.

"I am so out of tune.
With you."

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