Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Wilco – I Might

They’re doing better than the last time they turned up here…


Sally O’Rourke: Wilco have a knack for making great-sounding music, and I’ve bought several of their albums after a cursory listen on a friend’s car stereo or at a summer barbeque. On “I Might,” the band busts out the Farfisa, and for the first few spins, I’m in their thrall. But “I Might” also demonstrates Wilco’s greatest flaw: the willingness to settle for the workmanlike instead of the sublime. Superficially, it sounds like a classic; on closer listen, the verses amble, the chorus never declares itself. Even that organ riff, forced to carry the song all alone, gets driven into the ground.

Alfred Soto: The curlicues of skronk give periodic bursts of electroshock to a dull melody and a vocal that’s like grime between windshield wipers. Perhaps Wilco are worshiped because they’re not afraid to record boring songs.

Hazel Robinson: Keep on dadrocking in the free world etc. And yet this is slightly more like The Strokes than I or anyone else might expect; it’s lovely and summery and the squelchiness of the bass is great fun but I find, unlike any other Wilco I’ve heard, every time it ends I can’t even remember a sense of it let alone any of the melody. Fleeting but great while it’s happening; as seasonal as the Zombies organ it’s ripping off in a couple of places.

Michaela Drapes: My tolerance for Tweedy’s reedy bleat ran out somewhere back nearly ten years ago or so; it would also help if this song actually went somewhere. It just sort of stomps out of the room without really saying much of anything.

Anthony Easton: For the last couple of months, I have genuinely tried to get into Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, because friends of mine who i trust say its the best cd evah, and I like Tweedy’s voice well enough. I often fail. This is where I am going to fail again.

Zach Lyon: Listening to Summerteeth recently, forever the masterpiece by a band that was my favorite as late as 2004, it was startling to hear just how embarrassing many of Tweedy’s lyrics are. It’s a mixture of his earnestness in that era and his delivery, which never left anything to the imagination. And it seems, in “I Might,” that he’s at the point in his writing cycle when he’s too aware of that, maybe too afraid to let his little empire fall as a result of trying to say something. Because I can’t discern a damn thing from this. Something about pissing blood sticks out, and something about Slim Jim. But for the most part, this song drowns in pointlessness.

Brad Shoup: So I guess Wilco’s in their rococo phase. The last couple albums of therapy-rock were bad enough; now we’ve got bubblegum organ and cheery backing vocals and random excerpts from Tweedy’s dream journal and lots of “all rights,” which I think qualifies as a full-on verbal tic at this point. Fabulous fuzz bass, terrible trap set. Hey, Third Man’s also a vanity label releasing mediocre rock, but at least their vinyl smells like snozzberries when you scratch it.

Jonathan Bradley: I don’t remember a single thing about that album they had with the llama in the party hat on the front [Ed. It was a camel], except that it made for OK background music. I was pleased about that development, because Sky Blue Sky was horrible. “I Might” betters SBS opener “Either Way” in the non-committal stakes, and is even more forgettable than the party hat album. I used to hate it when my dad played Doors records too.

Edward Okulicz: The fuzzy bass provides some pleasing muscle, and the music box tinkles and organ are pretty sweet, but Jeff Tweedy has perhaps never sounded as bored as this in his life as he does through half of “I Might.” It’s a shame, because as well as having the aforementioned nice sonic touches, it’s not too bad of a song when Tweedy gets a bit of grit in his delivery. Disinterest is the death of an otherwise-fine 70s classic rock pastiche/rip-off.

Rebecca Toennessen: Wilco have many different guises; though I suspect dadrock is their settled genre at the moment. But dadrock that’s awesome! This is a happy, crunchy, bouncy, poppy sort of song, a lovely taste of HOORAY NEW ALBUM in September. I guess said new album is half-poppy (but distinctly Wilco-style — and anyone who wonders what that is should look to Summerteeth, their brillskills third album) and half-country. Sounds good to me! The single falls on the pop-side and is catchy and fun. Yeah, I’m a total Wilco fangirl. But they’re so fantastic live, and every album is a step towards a musical journey of… [continued on pg. 94]

Jonathan Bogart: Part Crazy Horse, part Manfred Mann, all nostalgia.

2 Responses to “Wilco – I Might”

  1. I will definitely stump for Summerteeth (err, at least one version [1] of it), and both Being There and YHF are excellent, but these guys haven’t been good/important/enjoyable for years at this point.

    [1] http://stylusmagazine.com/articles/playing_god/wilco-summerteeth.htm

  2. Oh, my side rant about the hackiness of the end of “She’s a Jar” got cut. Seriously, that song. Thought it was brilliant in high school, of course.