Wilco: Album by Album

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

  1. GuidedByJonO)))

    GuidedByJonO))) Forum Resident

    Location:
    Evanston
    "Passenger Side"
    Interesting to read all the different takes on this one, especially from the lyrical standpoint. I never put a ton of thought into this song, but listening now I'm struck that this is something Tweedy didn't do a whole lot of - an in-depth character sketch. Most of the songs on A.M. could reasonably assumed to be "about" Tweedy, or as a stand-in for his own feelings, but this feels like Tweedy stepping out into someone else's shoes. While I didn't grow up that close to Belleville, central Illinois isn't that far away, and I was aware of plenty of these types of guys. Not an angry guy, but probably not all that happy either, probably has a DUI or two, thinks everyone is out to get him, lucky to have one friend still willing to drive his sorry a** around town but never once being thankful for him, instead sits back and b*tches about his driving. From that POV, it's a departure from much of the rest of A.M. and interesting in that right. Musically it's fine, not a real standout but carries on the vibe. Not a big fan of that weird pause Jeff takes in the "I should've been your lover / But I hadn't seen", it always pulls me out of the song. Probably a 3 out of 5.
     
  2. Speedycat69

    Speedycat69 Springsteen nut

    Location:
    Aberdeen
    Is summerteeth available on vinyl? Thats my fave album of theirs anyway
     
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  3. slop101

    slop101 Guitar Geek

    Location:
    So. Cal.
    Weird, looks like it's out of print at the moment. I bought it only a year ago, and it was readily available then. Suddenly it's super scarce.
    Pretty sure they'll make more soon as this covid thing settles down.
     
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  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    The vinyl I got came with a cd
     
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  5. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    One of the reasons I've always liked this song is that I think Tweedy's delivery is sort of "tweaked" in such a way that he really "becomes" the "narrator" of the song. I agree with the above that his voice is a bit "whiny" and I've always felt - rightly or wrongly that he did this intentionally to "mimic" or "become' the narrator of this song. I always feel when I hear this song that its the narrator singing it to me and not Jeff. Its one of the things about this song that works for me.
     
  6. John C Bradley Jr

    John C Bradley Jr Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Adam Scott is a huge music fan/enthusiast. He has put together two podcasts ("You Talking U2 2 Me" and one on R.E.M.). I wonder if there is a connection here. I always believed Jeff Tweedy's appearance on Parks and Rec was due to Nick Offerman, but who knows...
     
  7. Balding Jay

    Balding Jay Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Wow, great point. Passenger Side would have fit in great on those Golden Smog records.
     
  8. mrdardy

    mrdardy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Kingston, PA
    $1000 Car is a treat, I always loved that song. Are you familiar with $100 Car by Liquor Giants? Another treat
     
  9. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    No, but I’ll check it out. Thanks.
     
  10. gjp163

    gjp163 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wamberal
    Passenger Side is a great little number ;-). For me it is the “b-side” to “I Must Be High”. That is a single I would like to see released in a perfect world lol. It reminds me of one of my favourite Stones song, the alternate take of “Dead Flowers” on Sticky Fingers Deluxe. Alernate DF could easily be a UT song with that long drawl in the vocals, maybe more Farrar’s style.

    Nothing else on A.M. does it for me except I Must Be High/Passenger Side. Catch y’all on the next album.
     
  11. chickendinna

    chickendinna Homegrown’s All Right With Me

    Wow, I thought I was perhaps one of the very few Liquor Giant fans, what a terrific band. I would love a new release by Ward Dotson and company. Their self-titled release is brilliant. Sorry, Didn’t mean to hijack this thread. Now back to Wilco
     
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  12. robcar

    robcar Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Full credit goes to @Fortuleo for this observation.
     
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  13. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Positivity Thread Starter

    Getting to the tail end of the album now...

    Dash 7


    'Dash 7' is the most stripped down track on A.M., featuring just Jeff on acoustic and Lloyd Maines on swooning, weeping pedal steel. Apparently there is an entire essay about this song (by Rick Moody) in The Wilco Book. I don't have that one but if any of you fine people do and want to break down what Moody has to say about the song I invite you to! Taken on its own, as I am listening to it this morning, 'Dash 7' is quite a beautiful track. Pedal steel almost always adds to a track like this and Jeff's vocal is just a step away from spoken word here. It is a heartfelt mumble, really. The lyrics don't speak to me that much, though. It's a song about feeling disconnected and lonely while traveling, which has been oft covered in the history of pop/rock. When I play the album in total, 'Dash 7' tends to blur into the background a bit for me. It's pretty, as I say, but nothing about it hits me in any strong emotional way and the melody isn't one of Jeff's strongest. It drifts on by as we near the close of the album and the haze sets in.
     
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  14. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    This is definitely a mood piece more than anything.
    It sort of makes me think of Lou Reed, and the guitar has a vague resemblance to Pink Floyd, Goodbye Blue Sky. It is only vague though.
    The pedal steel certainly helps to make the atmosphere more other worldly.
    The track staying in one place for so long makes that chord change a really nice emphasis point/tension breaker.
    I enjoy the feel of this song a lot.... the song itself is good, but not exceptional
     
  15. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Dash 7 is either a celebration of, or a jab at, the Dash 7 turbo-prop airplane. It’s dependent on this lyric:

    Because I've found the way those engines sound
    Will make it kiss the ground
    When you touch down

    If the above lyric (copied from lyricfind) is correct; make “it” kiss the ground— then it seems celebratory. As in, the flight was seamless. No worries.

    My ears tend to hear “make you kiss the ground”... which indicates, to me, great relief at landing safely! :D

    Which is correct?
     
  16. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Positivity Thread Starter

    I quite like your version of the lyrics, whatever is actually correct. It certainly doesn't sound like a song full of warm-hearted love for air travel via a Dash 7!
     
  17. jalexander

    jalexander Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Dash 7 is my favourite song on the album. Love the pedal steel and acoustic guitar intertwining. And this is a good roast-weary Tweedy vocal. Passenger Side (which I failed to comment on yesterday) is a catchy song-along, but I prefer the melancholy side of Tweedy. And I can 100% relate to the lyric... although at my regional airport the Dash 7’s were an upgrade to the old Beechcraft planes... you definitely wanted to kiss the ground when those beasts landed. Dashes are downright civilized in comparison!
     
  18. tulumdedoo

    tulumdedoo Forum Resident

    Location:
    ME
    I'm a day behind (glad we didn't opt to do more than one song per day) but wanted to chime in on "Passenger Side," which is one of my favorite Wilco songs (and to my mind, the best tune on AM).

    I like the studies and interpretations in this thread. Definitely a group of thoughtful folks. I want to offer a slightly different view of the song, which is that it's one of those 'misunderstood' songs about addiction that in one light can come off as humorous/anthemic, but is really actually pretty sad/pathetic [true sense of the word] when one thinks about it.

    This all reminds me of music conversations with my buddy Dave, a pianist and fellow teacher who happens to be a St. Louisian in love with Wilco and, of course, the Bottle Rockets. We've talked a lot about such 'misunderstood'/ironic songs, always (maybe surprisingly, given the life it's taken on?) coming back to Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville." Jeff seems to have written in this case a song cut from that same cloth. Yes, it's super awesome to fire up your blender and chuckle at the drunkard stepping on things he can't see through the haze (Buffett's verse three); yes, it's nostalgia-inducing to think about those stupid things we did, but how those things in tempting fate can also be darkly comic (Tweedy's verse one). Yes, they're winking nods to those who love to party.

    At the same time, the Buffett speaker (backed by music that in parts is kind of wistful and melancholic) is getting black-out drunk, losing track of the days and of his body (the tattoo), and "wasting away" his life. The Tweedy speaker gets bleaker as the song continues ("hey, my beer!" --> "hey man, I can't drive" --> "I really need to hit the liquor store"). These songs betray great duality! We sing along in joy, but when you really think about it....

    "That frozen concoction that helps me hang on" (Buffett) is "Can you take me to the store, and then the bank?" (Tweedy). Sad lines, at their core. "Passenger Side" thus has much more depth to me than all of the other songs on this album, and is not just a throw-away of sorts. Coming where it does in the narrative arc of the album the speaker/s of AM are guys we'd love to hang around, for sure, but they are burning themselves out in ways that are hollowing them out.
     
  19. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Apple Music has ‘make you kiss the ground.’

    Upon reflection, the entire song has that kind of droning on feeling, like being cocooned on a plane. Whether that’s comforting or scared witless? That’s where that one word becomes key. :D

    As a song, though, I like it. No, it doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of The Playlist, but I like it.
     
  20. Al Gator

    Al Gator You can call me Al

    Parachute Woman's thoughts about Dash 7 match mine. Zeki's observation is so obvious once it's pointed out, but I'd never thought of it!

    I just looked in my copy of The Wilco Book and indeed there are a couple of Rick Moody paragraphs about the song. I don't have time to transcribe them (I'm supposed to be working), but he says:
    • It's the strangest and most out-of-place song on A.M.
    • It makes use of modal tuning
    • The Dash 7 propeller plane was used for transport, first manufactured in 1975 and discontinued in 1984 after only 100 were built
    • The song also seems to allude to the endless travel of a musician's life
    • His reading of the lyrics (and what I hear) is "you kiss the ground"
    The next song in this "Five Songs" chapter is Misunderstood.

    I found The Wilco Book in a used bookstore a couple of years ago, complete with its CD, for just a few dollars; it was an obvious buy. I haven't had a chance to read it yet as I have a pretty good collection of books on music and I haven't gotten to this one yet...
     
  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley 5.1 should be mandatory for my favourite albums

    Well thanks
    I was wondering what on earth dash 7 was supposed to mean lol
     
  22. Rockford & Roll

    Rockford & Roll Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midway, KY
    I've greatly enjoyed all the discussion and insight on Dash 7. It has somewhat elevated what was kind of a background type song for me.
     
  23. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    I must admit I never cared too much for Dash 7. But I can nevertheless see it as a touchstone in Jeff's writing's trajectory : the first of his atmospheric mood pieces, with almost nothing "pop" or "folk" in it. He would often come back to this style with better results and refine it through the years, with either modal or atonal harmonic structures, maybe in a more overtly experimental manner. But it definitely starts here.
    (Note : in the Rick Moody piece of the Wilco Book, the 5 songs he studies to underline Jeff's songwriting evolution are 1/ Dash 7 ; 2/ Sunken Treasure ; 3/ She's A Jar ; 4/ Ashes of American Flag ; 5/ Hell is Chrome)
     
  24. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    "Dash 7"- A song that wouldn't sound out of place on Jeff's most recent solo albums. A slow haunting song that floats by and may take a few listens for it to dig its hooks in you. I think it's the beginning of Jeff really hitting on a style that will be with him the rest of his career. He would get better, but there is nothing about this song that I don't like. A solid 4/5
     
  25. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Positivity Thread Starter

    An interesting selection of tracks from Moody there. I think I would enjoy reading his piece. I'll see if I can find it online.
     

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