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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

419 of 1001 Albums: Wilco's Being There

Like many my first listen of Wilco was after I had watched Juno. The band had been around way before then though. Their second album is Being There. It creates some of the most interesting blend of music I've heard, with one of my favorite country elements, the guitar, and blending it with rock and folk sounds. There are some moments where the album is really quirky and other moments where the album just sounds beautiful.

History: This album seemed to have been made with some huge pressures laying on it. The stress of Jeff Tweedy's personal life was putting a lot on his second album to make it, but not only for it to at least bring financial stability, but also be a great representation of the band's musical and artistic talent. It turns out that this album would be that breakthrough. It made more sales than their previous album, and it was a hit with critics.


Vocals: Jeff Tweedy is the primary vocalist and even the backing vocalist in every song. I think it works well that he leads and backs. He has a softer voicing, so if you had a backing vocal any more powerful it would overwhelm his vocals. There are some interesting mixes with his vocals though. Since his voicing is softer he works well with some of the slower tunes, and then surprises you on songs like "Dreamer in my Dreams" where he gets a little more throw down with the instrumentals.

Instrumentals: There are a huge variety of instrumentals on this album. You have everything from what you can hear like the guitar, drums, bass, and then more like the trumpet, the saxophone, plus more. It gives the song something highly defined about the sound.  In Jeff Tweedy's prior band he had two other band members, but after their other band broke up he was looking to have to enlist more people. This led him to Jay Bennett who was talented in many instrumentals. The song though it really quirky, and honestly something I might have enjoyed more in college.

Recording: This album was released in 1996, and yet it sounds so timeless. There are certain usual traits that define 90's music, and this album includes so many different instruments and genres that are blended that it doesn't allow itself to get blended in with the typical alternative rock scene. The sound is fresh and shows how passionate the band is about continuing to be artistic with their music.

Wilco is a good band. I found some favorites on the album like "The Lonely 1". It was the slowest song on the album, and the on that caught my attention above all. There was just a beautiful atmosphere captured in the song. With the music sounding like something from the early college days though it's hard to believe these guys were married, had kids, or just older than they sound.

Rating 7 of 10.


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