Friday, May 01, 2009

Wilco... the Song

I know it's old news, but I just discovered this today. Pitchfork reported yesterday on the new Wilco record, with the meta-title Wilco, the Album, which includes lead-off single "Wilco, the Song". Apparently "Wilco the Song" is as ancient as Jesus riding a brachiosaurus, as they performed it on Colbert's show several months ago. I'm giving it its third go-through right now, and all I can think is that Wilco have officially made it to the same point that Beck, Spoon, and Stephen Malkmus have successfully reached in their career; namely, the point where all your music does is reference its creator. Wilco, in that regard, have picked the perfect title for their song: I'm certain they were thinking, "We just made a song that references all of our sonic transforms... how about we name it after ourselves to show we're aware of this"?

Musically, it's like Gimme Fiction-era Spoon meets Wowee-Zowee-era Pavement, to eschew the Wilco comparisons. It's a verse-chorus pop song in the most pure structural form, with just about enough room for a bridge and a noise-and-feedback guitar solo. To return to Wilco comparisons, its form comes from Summerteeth, its rootsy sound comes from Being There, and it's washed with the accessible pseudo-experimentalism of A Ghost is Born. However, Wilco are still screwing with you - the listener of their noble blend of postmodernism - in a few ways.

First off, there are those bizarre Sonic Youth chords they throw in every once in a while, such as in the middle of the first verse. And then there's the backdrop. Does anyone else notice that Wilco are playing in front of a projection of all of their album covers, endlessly rotating in 3-D like on some sort of Apple Computer product? I can't help but think this is tongue and cheek... like the rest of this track.

End verdict? I really have high hopes for the next Wilco disc, that's slated to come out next month. I think Wilco can leave their dad-rock slump and land back in the Jim O'Rourke/Sonic Youth trifecta of postmodern rock.

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