Wilco: Album by Album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Parachute Woman, May 11, 2020.

  1. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I love the part where his voice is raspy. When I was thinking about it this a.m., I suddenly recalled a Glendon Swarthout novel I read back in the 70s. The Tin Lizzie Troop, maybe, where musicians travel in a bus and deliberately stick their heads out the window to catch colds so they can sound like Louis Armstrong.

    Random thought! Sorry.
     
  2. slop101

    slop101 Guitar Geek

    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Part of the reason that I'm not particularly fond of AM is purely circumstantial.

    I do most of my music listening in my car, off of my iPod, which has well over 1,000 albums on it, and I enjoy listening to it shuffling all of it's content. And while I have every Wilco album on there, whenever it would play a Wilco song, it would always be something off AM, and never anything off of their 10 or so other albums. It got so infuriating, I deleted AM off my iPod, and it made me resent the album more than I would otherwise.

    It also doesn't help that I came to the album late. I got onboard with Wilco when "Being There" first came out, keeping up with all their releases from there, but didn't even listen to AM until after YHFT. So it never had a chance to click with me anyways. So when my iPod was forcing it on me, I was having none of it!
     
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  3. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

     
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  4. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    "Passenger Side" is one that I can't really get into, at least not in the same way as several of the other tracks on A.M. I've never understood why this one seems to have become a live staple while great songs like "I Thought I Held You" and "Should've Been In Love" have been so neglected in concert over the years. This one just seems jokey and insincere, which is sort of the same problem I have with "That's Not The Issue". It's like a parody of a country song and I'm not too interested in musical parodies or jokes, generally speaking.

    I do appreciate the Neil Young reference and I guess this song does lighten the mood somewhat on what is a fairly dour back half of the LP in terms of lyrics. I don't think it's a bad song by any means, and I like it better than "That's Not The Issue", but it's just sort of there for me. It's not a highlight on this album.
     
  5. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    Never liked this one, for reasons others have stated, though I appreciate Parachute Woman's description of it.
     
  6. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I agree - it does seem more suited for Golden Smog than Wilco.
     
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  7. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Too funny. I might argue, however, that your iPod was right about one thing: A.M. is Wilco's best driving album.
     
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  8. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    I take It's Just That Simple as a parody of Jay Farrar:

    1) It's on the initial Wilco statement post UT; 2) Tweedy maintains some deniability and distance; 3) It sounds like Jay being made fun of; 4) The lyrics; 5) Stirrat doesn't do that much writing or singing-wise after. That's my story. Am I the only one who thinks this?
     
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  9. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    I pretty much agree with this. It's a song that I never, ever tire of. I've seen it played live quite a few times through the years, usually in one of the encores I think. For me its definitely one of the high points of the record.
     
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  10. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    I've always thought of Passenger Side as Wilco's signature tune. Maybe not the most popular song but the one that encapsulates the spirit of the band best. Probably not meant to be taken too seriously (the band's changed it up stylistically enough live out of boredom or to emphasize the silliness of the lyrics idk) I still feel it's effective late in a set as a means to "sober up" before the encores / end of the album.

    Here's a version from 11/27/96 where they play Passenger Side straight and then "Punk". I think the fast version was first included as a "hidden" track on a Q101 local Chicago band compilation CD (Local.101 Volume One) with versions eventually released on Alpha Mike Foxtrot / Being There Deluxe Edition. I've always found it amusing that Wilco was able to make it onto an 1998 alternative rock compilation with the least representative version of one of their signature songs; clearly it was meant to be an (inside) joke.
     
  11. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    Also wanted to point out that there was a movie made in 2009 called "Passenger Side" with Adam Scott that utilizes this song. Never seen the movie / have no idea how good it is but I will note that Wilco's music seems to have been used in a lot of movies throughout the years.
     
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  12. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Positivity Thread Starter

    I think that would be uncharacteristically mean-spirited and cynical for Jeff Tweedy. I think it is a sincere song written by John Stirratt and included on the album because it's good.
     
  13. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Great live version and pretty much sums up why it's loved by so many fans. It also makes me hold out hope that we will one day get a Wilco Punk album. I'm really surprised it hasn't happened yet.
     
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  14. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I don't know about that. But does anyone here think that "Passenger Side" could also be a metaphor about Jeff facing the decision and uncertainties about becoming the "driver" of the new band ?
     
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  15. wavethatflag

    wavethatflag The West Coast bzfgt

    Location:
    Pacifica, CA
    I think he's possibly describing his role in Uncle Tupelo. I remember Tweedy recounting how Jay said something to him like, "Just keep quiet and play your bass."

    Or it could be just a Belleville slice of life story that lends itself nicely to country downer-ism.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  16. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    I don't think the track is cynical or mean, so why would it make Jeff that? It's not the magna carta. They aren't choir boys. It's the only song ever sung in Wilco, by the only guy that was in UT with him and Jay. I agree that Jeff is a good guy in almost all things, but he is in a rock band after all.
     
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  17. trd

    trd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berkeley
    looks like an entertaining movie and a great soundtrack

    for some reason your comment about Wilco and movie soundtracks reminded me of this,

     
  18. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    Part of me hopes they already did this and released it under a pseudonym. Don't want to jump ahead (we can discuss more when we get to the live album) but I'm imaging "Kicking Television" as an outtake from those sessions?!?
     
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  19. planetexpress

    planetexpress Hypnotist Collector

    Location:
    Chicago
    Oh no, I have that cherry ghost shirt in my closet...
     
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  20. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus

    Lyrically I feel the song is like a quick, clear snapshot of a sort of stoner character, a Jim Anchower type: eternally out of it, down on his luck and struggling, pathetic but ultimately somehow cheerful and eternally pure and innocent, completely and blissfully unaware of his place in the bigger picture.

    The lyric doesn't go anywhere, I suppose, but the picture is very clear to me. I love the twelve-string guitar sound and the subtle fiddles and lead guitar are gorgeous. As for the song getting a big reaction I just imagine it's because it really is a whole helluva lot of fun to sing along with!
     
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  21. GuidedByJonO)))

    GuidedByJonO))) Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston
    My thoughts on this particular song coming later, but I love the Jim Anchower name drop. My favorite of the early, long running Onion "columnists".
     
  22. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Posted above is quote from Kot’s book. Tweedy told band they could bring songs to the table. The only one who did was Stirratt. Three songs etc etc. He hoped for at least two to be included on album. Disappointed it was only one. The songwriting/singing door appears to have closed.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  23. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Re: Passenger Side lyrics. Now I’ve heard everything. There is no way Brian Henneman would be a party to some slam against Jay Farrar (not that I think for one moment that the song is anything other than a humorous song. It’s the kind that Jeff’s buddy, Brian, frequently wrote. $1,000 Car, Indianapolis, etc.)
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
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  24. frightwigwam

    frightwigwam Talented Amateur

    Location:
    Oregon
    Passenger Side is a funny one—a nice melody and memorable chorus, but I also think the subject and narrative is annoying and cringe-inducing, Jeff’s voice sounds whiney (maybe on purpose to reflect the character, but still), and I think the tempo drags. Of course, a sing-along that refers to drink or drugs tends to be popular with concert crowds, but I don’t particularly enjoy this one while listening to the album.
     
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  25. drad dog

    drad dog Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    OK.
     
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