If you aren’t excited about seeing Wilco on Monday evening, you should be.
Now don’t worry, I don’t come here to blindly fellate Jeff Tweedy, an activity that seems to have replaced fellating Thom Yorke the national pastime for rock critics. But the fact is that the YCC has more than made up for last year’s Guster fiasco by bringing to campus one of the most exciting bands in America.
Wilco was formed in 1994 out of the breakup of alt-country pioneers Uncle Tupelo in a rock and roll mitosis that also gave the world Son Volt. While the latter has unfortunately gone the way of the bargain bin, Wilco has gradually proven itself to be one of the most creative, genre-bending bands in music today.
Its latest album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” leaves behind the band’s country roots in favor of a more experimental, studio-based approach to minimalist folk-rock. However, while the album is a huge artistic achievement and the reason why most people know the band at all, Wilco’s best work lies in its sophomore release, 1996’s double CD “Being There.”
Now, stop rolling your eyes. I am not that guy who picks his favorite album based on its maturity and obscurity. The simple fact is, I prefer old Wilco for the same reason I prefer old Radiohead: in the new stuff, the bleeps and bloops of experimental genius just seem to obscure the music’s soul, its humanity.
On “Being There,” Wilco is simply at the top of its songwriting game. From melodic rockers like “Monday” to solemn ballads like “The Lonely 1” to pure country like “Someday Soon,” each song is a new voyage in Americana. And for those of you who still can’t get past an infatuation with the band’s newer material, the album’s opener “Misunderstood” is just as crazed and exploratory as anything on “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”
So regardless of whether you are a long-time Wilco fan or are pouting because we didn’t get Avril, get yourself pumped up for Monday by taking a listen to “Being There” before the band takes over Old Campus. Hopefully Wilco will do the same and throw a couple oldies in the set list for us.