Aside from a brief attempt at the beginning of the Oscars, this is my real try at live-blogging. Don't expect much of real substance. Just thought it would be an interesting way to record my initial thoughts on the record. I'm sure I'll be able to look back on these comments and laugh one day. That day is probably tomorrow."Either Way"
Have heard this one about 30 times since it leaker earlier in the week. Great way to start the CD. Very pretty, laid back. Love the organ in the background, and Nels' understated playing. I still think his solo is very Trey Anastasio-ish. Jeff's vocal coming out the solo is fantastic."You Are My Face"
My favorite of the three leaks. This would have made a nice opener as well. More of the laid back vibe. This is gonna make a great summer CD, and an even better "driving in the summer" CD. Love where the song gets kinda funky in the middle. Great, great tune. Is it me, or are Jeff's vocal incredible on this disc so far? Soulful is the word I'd use."Impossible Germany"
Loved this song when I saw it live last year. First impression is that Jeff's vocal sounds a little more Yankee Hotel-era on this one (which is, of course, just fine). Is it me, or did Nels cut back on the solo a bit for the album? I still like it, but I remember it just absolutely kicking my ass live. Love the multiple guitar attack. OK, forget it -- here's the asskicking part.
Just a thought -- can't wait to see these songs played outdoors live this summer."Sky Blue Sky"
First time hearing this one, I think. Very, very quickly becoming my favorite so far. Some strong hints of the band's alt-country past, and I like it. Very simple, very good. Not much more to say."Side with the Seeds"
Wow. Jeff truly goes soul on us. Not loving the song yet, but Jeff's vocals continue to amaze. Ah, here we go -- the guitar comes in, the full band picks up... nice. Have I mentioned yet that Nels kicks ass? Well, consider it mentioned. What older song does this make me think of? The melody really seems familiar. And more Nels... bless him. OK, I officially like this song now. Great quick ending."Shake it Off"
Hmm... kinda slow start to this one. Something is making me think of Steely Dan for some reason. Wow, listen to that organ. Is this 1978? And a brief moment of cowbell. Not sure what I think of this one. A little hint of Pink Floyd there for a few seconds. It's got that whole "Spiders" soft/loud/soft/loud dynamic going for it, but it's easily my least favorite of the bunch so far."Please Be Patient"
Love the acoustic guitar -- beautiful. Another contender for my favorite of the album so far. Maybe I'm not listening for anyone else on this record, but it's my impression so far that this is really Jeff and Nels' album. And I like it. What a great song."I Hate it Here"
More soul from Jeff. Love the organ. And here's more Nels. Damn. What am I gonna do when I run out of shirts to fold? Wow -- a little nod to the Beatles here, cool. I don't typically listen to lyrics, but I'm really like them on this song so far. I've been saying this a lot, but another contender for song of the album. Absolutely love the two "mini-solos" towards the end of the song. "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)"
Kinda slight, but not in a bad way. Breezy. Nothing spectacular, but a nice song. Kinda wish they'd left this off and put "Is That The Thanks I Get" on instead. Not much more to say."Walken"
(or is it "Walkin'", as the media viewer says??)
The song I'm most familiar with from the last couple tours. Really, really like it. I mentioned to my friend Matt the other day that I didn't love the song, but thought it would grow on me based on the placement on the album. I was right. It fits perfectly towards the end of the album, after a bunch of more mellow songs. The more I think about it, the more I'm sure it's true. Love the break-down about 2/3 into the song, and love the ending."What Light"
Another song I'm pretty sure I've seen live. Great, great melody. More steel pedal. OK, I'm changing my mind again -- this is my favorite song on the album. Reminds me of Dylan at times. Or maybe The Band. Wow, amazing song."On and On and On"
And so it ends... fantastic opening sequence. More Beatles allusions, at least to my ear. Crap, am I gonna have to change my favorite song again? Cannot wait to see this one live. Wow, what a way to end.
OK, so, a wrapup. This is the best "first listen" I've had to a Wilco album since Being There
, and, while things could certainly change, this has the makings to be my favorite Wilco album yet. By and large it eschews the "rock", but I love the fact that the band takes major, major challenges with each album, and grows its sound.
Congrats, fellas, you keep amazing me. Just a fantastic album.Edited to add: OK, I've had a chance to listen to the album a few more times. (Some kind soul managed to capture the stream.) I'm happy to say, it's holding up quite well. I'm not head over heels for "Side With The Seeds", "Shake It Off" or "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)", but the rest of the album is spectacular, and those songs are fine -- nothing earthshattering, but OK. I'm kind of surprised at how vehement some of the backlash to the album is already. And, honestly, I'm kind of happy about it. Seriously, there are few people in the world I'd rather smack in the head, aside from the members of our current Administration, than the frat boy/Dave Matthews Band crowd who jumped on board the Wilco train with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That sound you're hearing when you listen to the album? That's your signal to get off the train.