Sunday, October 02, 2005

Wilco

I hate to admit this, but it is difficult to learn where to find good CDs to buy without hearing the artists on the radio or seeing them on MTV. I recently asked a friend, Dayna, to recommend a good CD. She recommended for me to buy Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I have heard of Wilco, but never heard a song by them. I bought the album and feel that this excellent album must be described in full detail.

To describe the music by Wilco is very difficult because the group is so different from most others. If I had to compare Wilco to one music group, I would immediately say Radiohead. I loved the song “Karma Police” off of Radiohead’s OK Computer. Experimental in style, Wilco uses a mixture if different instruments that do not always blend together. The instruments are not meant to blend together. Listen to them while closing your eyes, and try to figure out how many different sounds that you are hearing at once. I would call it a musical collage. I true mixture of different sounds to add color to the songs. Each song could be rerecorded with fewer instruments, but that simplification of the music would take away from the experience. The blend of instruments truly enhances the music and style of Wilco.

For example, the song “Jesus, etc.” uses violins when guitars could be used to play the same notes. My own justification for this comes from the fact that violins are better at helping an audience imagine tears than the music of guitars. If you think that I’m wrong, listen to Left Banke’s “Don’t Walk Away, Renee” or the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and you will see where I am coming from. But at the same time in the same song, Wilco also plays guitars in a country music style, reminding me of Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party.” Yet I will admit I cannot determine the reason for this, or for many of the sounds that you will hear in Wilco’s songs. Every musical experiment on this album cannot be explained, but the result is a successful album.

If you love Radiohead, then I feel that you will also love Wilco. It must be understood though that the two groups are not exactly alike. Wilco has a larger sense of freedom. It is like they are not worried if someone doesn’t like their experiments within songs. I appreciate that. I’d rather hear an artist test the boundaries of music rather than conform to the standards of forgettable bands. Their experimental album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot proves to be a success, and they are unforgettable.

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