To Die By Your Side

I forget that I know

November 14th, 2011

So this morning, I thought I’d share a track from the latest Wilco album with you. For no other reason than I really like this version of ‘Dawned On Me’. In fact, bar one track which I can’t decide on, I really like ‘The Whole Love‘. It’s an album that seems to find the band finding a nice middle ground between the experimentation of their mid period and the crafted songwriting of the last two albums. Bookended by two standout tracks, the album does suffer from a mid section thats seems to drag in comparison to how it starts and ends but in all honesty, that’s a minor quibble on what is a highly enjoyable album. It’s a record that finds Wilco in a comfortable position. While I wouldn’t say they were anywhere near running on auto pilot, you do kind of get the impression that Wilco can knock albums like this out effortlessly. It’s as though they’ve almost become so proficient at what they do that they’ve kind of become a slick songwriting machine.

By which I mean that while you can’t knock the quality of the songwriting, there’s not much danger or unpredictability to what they do now. While opener ‘Art Of Almost’ undoubtedly hints at a wild sonic journey, it turns out to be something of a red herring. Almost everything that comes after that track feels a little bit too safe in comparison. Maybe it’s an age thing or maybe it’s down to a calmer, more settled atmosphere within the band but they no longer seem to have the edge that made the ‘Summerteeth‘, ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot‘ and ‘A Ghost Is Born‘ such a truly great run of albums. They’ve honed their craft but in doing so have lost some of their sense of adventure. While I’m not suggesting they suddenly start developing addictions and having mass brawls, I just think they’ve maybe lost some of the fight that made them challenge themselves and their fans. It may seem like a petty thing to be saying because don’t get me wrong, this album is good but you can’t help wanting it to be a couple of notches above that. As it is, ‘The Whole Love’ hints at greatness but never quite attains it overall.

So anyway, here’s the track I promised in the first sentence. A great session version of ‘Dawned On Me’ which finds Jeff Tweedy alone with his acoustic guitar and a revelation of love that seems quite sweet and innocent but may well have a darker undertone to it. As though actually he’s been taking someone for granted and just realised it a little too late.

Wilco – dawned on me (live solo acoustic session version) : original version available to buy on ‘The Whole Love

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Filed Under Album Reviews, Music

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