Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rock of Ages: Wilco - "Misunderstood" (1996)

Wilco's "Misunderstood" is how I felt about the band when I first heard of them many moons ago. I heard the label alt country and immediately said "no thanks." If someone said "Neil Youngcore" I would have listened to them since Summerteeth dropped. Alas, I did my proper research and here I am, a bonafied Wilco fanatic. Their 1996 record Being There is a sprawling record of seemingly mismatched songs, but for me it's a work of genius. It may be a bit long, as most double LP's are, but there isn't a whole lot of filler. It get's started off perfectly with the decidedly moody and spacey "Misunderstood" which points to the future of the band. A few years down the line they would put out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and many of the tracks have the same atmosphere and melancholy longing that this song had years before it. Every time I listen to the track, it's hard to overcome that the song is in fact from 1996.

Wilco is lucky enough to have one of this generations best songwriters. Jeff Tweedy weaves words beautifully. Poetic and sometimes a bit elusive, "Misunderstood" is a sort of homecoming and realizing things are completely different. It's that feeling you get when you don't even know yourself sometimes. It's a sad song indeed and a strange kick off to an album that the first half has some of the catchiest rock tracks you'll hear. Being There may not be the monolithic artistic achievement of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot but it was a precursor to those experimental times.

Up Next: How can one chose a single song from Radiohead's OK Computer?

No comments: