Tag Archives: review

For The Record: Moby: Play

Oftentimes it is said by people (pretending to be) wise enough that the most beautiful pieces of art are products of despair, depression and crisis. I’m not going to go into this since 1. this is not the case with this record and 2. I do not want to pretend I’m wise enough for that.

The first time I heard Moby’s name was in a song by Eminem and as an 11 year-old I could not really see the point of being so angry at someone whom the man did not really know. At least that was the picture in my head. Small skip in time, I heard ‘Bodyrock’ in the video game Fifa 2001. I really liked its sampled lyrics  (“we rock the party, rock the party” seemed to do exceptionally well with a game on football – or soccer for the dear readers from over there).  Another timelapse later I got to hear “Natural Blues” when I was in a really bad period and hearing those achingly well-placed chords of strings and its driving dynamics with all the piano and staccato bass… I rarely cry only because I hear a piece of music… But this was so liberating yet saddening that “Natural Blues” evoked some sort of an emotional whirlwind in my mind and heart and forced me to register and process daily pain until I was well enough.

Everybody knows the story: ‘Play’ at first seemed to be a commercial disaster and because of the bad press of Moby’s previous effort ‘Animal Rights’ not too many music critics took the time and energy to even listen to the album.

“February in 2000, I was in Minnesota, I was depressed and my manager called me to tell me that Play was #1 in the UK, and […] Then it was #1 in France, in Australia, in Germany—it just kept piling on.” – Moby told Rolling Stone.

And this of course turned Moby’s fortune and life upside down. That’s not the point though. The why is so much more interesting. Moby’s early techno and ambient ambitions and records are somewhat known and loved or hated according to how receptive the listeners were to that sort of raw electronic, assertively pioneer sound he was aiming for but what had always been there was Moby’s sensitivity to harmonies and melodies, arches and emotional provocation in the good sense. (It’s enough to listen to ‘Go’ for instance, or ‘Hymn’.)

‘Play’ was recorded and released at the end of the ’90s and consists of 18 songs. It features sampling heavily and has mostly mid-tempo songs. Many of them feature blues field recordings’ samples or instrumentation pieces reminiscent of blues, supporting this are house/downtempo beats and synths. The meeting of these elements give us essentially some sort of a quintessence and looking back and yet, pretending to be wise, I risk saying zeitgeist at the end of a century.  A millennium. Everything got faster and more incomprehensible with the advent of the 21st century. ‘Play’ partly sums that up – there’s all the speed, dynamism and rage in that jump on the cover – but on the other hand the album evokes a pastoral, bucolic setting, out in great spaces.

If you find this hard to believe or too emotional, high-brow or pretentious, you can listen to ‘Play’ without having to believe in such big things. Listen to it only in itself and pay attention to yourself.

And this is where I shall return to a thought earlier: ‘Play’ in itself is liberating yet saddening. It evokes some sort of an emotional whirlwind in the mind and heart and forces the listener to register and process daily happenings (love, pain, loss, or only moods) until he/she can move on. It will not shout this skill out loud but sometimes it can help by taking us a bit down but bringing us back up a higher. And this is exactly how the album lets us off: ‘My Weakness’ is no depressive masterpiece. It’s the main character walking away because he/she had had enough and wants to overcome.

You can listen to the album below:

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Review: Retro Stefson: Retro Stefson

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Those who know me in person may be getting sick of my love for Iceland – for its language and culture and nature and its entirety. It started for me with their pop music as it has for many-many people. Sigur Rós and Björk probably don’t need an introduction – it’s all the same if you like their music or not in this respect. You know they are from Iceland. You know they redefined many things about pop: music-writing, beauty, technology and performance. But Iceland (and of course Icelandic music) is much much more than this genius band and this visionary. And you do not necessarily have to look for great bands among the more established ones who have been around in the last 10-15 years. In Iceland you’re never late.

What else could be a better example for this than Retro Stefson, a 7-piece band which formed in Reykjavík in 2006 and whose members are still conspicuously young. Retro Stefson released their first album Montaña in the year of their formation and the sophomore effort followed in 2010 as a release at one of the most well-known Icelandic rock labels Kimi Records. Kimbabwe – as that album is called – got distribution outside Iceland and it certainly showed a rather ambitious yet creative and fresh band with a truly unique approach to music. Especially if we consider that all of them are at the beginning of their 20s.

Their mixture of funk and some really sensibly written pop-rock with a hint of electronic instrumentation certainly showed great promise. Retro Stefson is however not your everyday “pop-rock” band. Of course many take at least 21 steps back when they – prior to having listened to the band in question – hear that something is “pop-rock”. In their minds a really tacky picture is constructed of some people getting together playing awfully boring songs about love and longing and things like that. Well, Retro Stefson is not at all like that.

Retro Stefson is rock because they have drums, guitars and basses they are not afraid to use (fade in at 1.05 in their song Rome, Iowa off Kimbabwe and you’ll know better than ever) and they are pop because their lyrics are well-constructed and really nice to listen to, especially with such clever hooks written. However, Retro Stefson’s music has another hugely enjoyable face as well: jamming. And that’s where their funk-like attitude comes in and their live energy is let out. Up until now there was no need to go to a concert when you wanted to hear 7-9 minutes around one structure since Montaña and Kimbabwe were filled with jams like ‘Senseni’ and ‘Kimba’ which showed that this lot had a lot in them when it comes to making people dance, yet on albums with such catchy sounds and straightforwardly clever music it was a bit strange and off-putting. Not because these songs were inferior to the others, it’s just that you don’t expect Valentino Rossi to participate in X-Games as a rider pulling off tricks on his motorcycle.

And this is where Retro Stefson comes into the game. This third album is much more focused and much more dense than the previous two. And it’s just what we needed from the guys. 3-4 minutes a song, smartly arranged, nice – yet.. well, retro – synth sounds, a rhythm section tighter than the leggings you would want to put on an elephant and diverse, intriguing song-writing. Let it be the groovy yet soothing ‘Glow’, the quasi-house crowd-bouncer ‘Qween’, the electro-‘breakrock’ song ‘Time’, or ‘(o)Kami’, which could easily bring back quiet storm into popular music with its electric piano and guitar sound taking us to the golden age of psychedelic soul – you know these songs are gems. They also are relatively short but hey, that’s what the repeat all button is for. And the jams can come at the gigs.

Nowadays a significant part of musicians who want to keep the album format alive are aspiring to make a record which showcases the multi-talent of theirs, cramming hip-hop, rock, ballads and electronica-infused songs onto a single album which is supposed to be nice and inspiring but in fact, it takes the face and cohesion away.

Not in this case. Every single song shines and shouts the same: Retro Stefson er rosaleg hljómsveit*

*Retro Stefson are an awesome band

Review: Kosheen: Independence

It’s always strange going back to times that were either emotionally or humanely significant to us throughImage something else than merely remembering. It is shocking, even, how scents, tastes, sounds, déja vu or anything else can take us back to or at least make us remember our long-gone dreams, hopes and feelings of the time. Remember ourselves, essentially. I’m not planning to elaborate on this issue, you can google the word madelaine and Marcel Proust. What Mr. Proust couldn’t possibly have written about though is Kosheen’s fourth album, the aptly titled Independence. Which appears to be my little piece of madeleine. But does it taste good?

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Graham Coxon: A+E

Blur guitarist, solo artist and Fender endorsee with a beautiful signature guitar,English musician Graham Coxon has exploded back into mainstream popular music. Last year. Why do I write about – what more, restart my blog on current music! – his adventures? Should he really be rushed to A+E instead?

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Review: Euzen: Sequel

It’s always a distinct pleasure for me to review Nordic music and although I’m – as those who know me know (too) well – all for Iceland and its culture, I have a special place in my heart for music from Denmark, as I lived there for half a year back in the days.

Make no mistake, that was not a description of why ‘Sequel’ by Euzen might get good marks here. There’s not so good music everywhere in the world, it’s just that Danish seem to be exceptionally resonant for modernizing their culture and musical traditions. Hell, I dare to say that quality folktronica hails from somewhere around there. (Just think about the work of Sorten Muld or Valravn.)

Euzen is somewhat in that lot as their music is what the ancient Nordic people would’ve made if they had had the instruments and digital magic to work with. The rhythms and the harmonics are in many cases indeed based on traditional music. But even at first sight, without having heard anything by Euzen (having a knowledge of the scene), the band has something promising about its membership: Christopher Juul. He is the sound-sculptor, programmer, keys-player from Valravn and Euzen has been his pet-side project with Maria Franz from Norway. As they write in their blog, Euzen was founded in Iceland by Juul and Franz after a long friendship. Since then they have released one album, ‘Eudaimonia’ in 2009 and during the recording process, the lineup was expanded with Harald Juul (guitars and strings), Jon Pold (bass) and Kristian Uhre (drums, percussion).

2011 found the band releasing their sophomore, the aptly titled ‘Sequel’ and if you ask me how things stand, it is the definitely a ‘2nd-album-situation’ in case of a promising effort: more coherent and consistent sound, as clever instrumentals as ever, a clear conception and direction to move forward. Euzen stayed with what they do best but in some cases they definitely peaked out of their comfort zone.

It’s always difficult to write about ‘general characteristics that make up a band’s sound’ and not let the readers think that the work in question is NOT anything repetitive but since Euzen is one of the most unique electronica bands today and the artwork looks like a cover for a viking metal band, some general features should be welcomed. Maria Franz has a really interesting, synchopated way of singing, she has a lush and general high-pitched voice which is flawlessly countered by the creative and dynamic work of the rhythm section as well as Christopher Juul’s soundscapes. All in all, the sound is laid back with sometimes playful beats and the character of the music is somewhat comparable to some sort of a blissful battle between alternative pop and folk-based electronica. But Euzen managed to become much more than that on ‘Sequel’ with songs like ‘Judged By’ with a simple but sonically deep and vastly enjoyable guitar work by Harald Juul (this song was cleverly chosen to be the first single off ‘Sequel’, see the beautifully thought-out video below), ‘Coherence’ or the suite-like ‘Sequel’.

Anyone who want to experience an organic balance among contemporary electronic music, classical piano-work and arrangements, traditional but modernized elements of Nordic music and a pinch of progressive rock, do not hesitate to dive into “Euzeniverse” as the band call their own world. And those of you who have the opportunity of seeing them live in concert, tell us how good it was.

‘Judged By’ video:

Review: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ SAMPLER

When something so striking, surprisingly cruel, yet beautifully composed, arranged and produced piece of

Sampler cover art

music sees sunlight as last year’s score to ‘The Social Network’, it’s always hard to imagine for us fans anyone to be able to create something at least as good as the previous in only a year. Let alone for the successor to be as exciting and new as its precursor.

Well, no-one should expect wonders: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have not picked up nylon string acoustic guitars and called for a symphonic orchestra to help assist with this year’s soundtrack work of theirs. It is essentially the same, atmosphere-driven, heavily electronic, simple but meaningful set-up as it was to Mark Zuckerberg’s story. However, there is tangible difference in attitude when it comes to the actual music. Based on what’s – despite its length of 35 minutes – only a taster to the 3-hour “opus” (Reznor’s word), Reznor and Ross managed to transform Sweden’s cold, snowy and alienated landscapes into notes and the music resonates really well with the characters’ and the soon-to-be-vievers moods as well.

This time, it’s less percussive and less straightforward, at least on the sampler. There’s no sign of as direct a song as ‘In Motion’ was on the previous release this time around. In general, it resembles the second half of ‘The Social Network’ and makes us call back moments like ‘Eventually We Find Our Way’, ‘The Gentle Hum of Anxiety’ and ‘Soft Trees Break The Fall’.

It very well may be that what I wrote here will not turn out to be entirely true. The whole sampler EP has such a tense, yet complete character which shows its strengths and sets the tone that it might as well only be a prelude to a great saga embracing a huge variety of emotions and settings. And in that case, we’re going to encounter something even better than fantastic. Which the sampler is.

The six-track sampler can be downloaded free of charge from NullCo’s website.

Review: Meshell Ndegeocello: Weather

Meshell Ndegeocello – however she has spelled her name throughout the years – has been one of the most influential bassists and composers of her age – fortunately, our age as well. Music enthusiasts were blown away by her, let it be about her sensitive and sensual singing, her energetic, yet soulful approach towards playing the bass guitar, her feel of funk, jazz, electronica or of how a properly written song should seem and sound like. Everybody raved about her production skills – it’s easy to recall the arrangements of ‘Comfort Woman’ which were cleverly constructed layers supporting her incredible voice – as well as her mind-blowing work on (primarily) the 4-string. (The song ‘If That’s Your Boyfriend [It Wasn’t Last Night]’ being the perfect example.) In 2007 she went even further: she experimented with drum and bass, mixed jazz with really aggressive rock but somehow – by staying on top of her game and presenting fans with another densely, albeit not overly egocentrically or disturbingly produced album, ‘The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams’.

Her 2010 effort ‘Devil’s Halo’ came as a surprise (fans could diplomatically call it “a secret favourite”) with its short running time and on-the-spot songs with minimal space to let off the instrumentals. The setting and the instrumentation were also trending towards intimacy rather than an emotion-fuelled outburst or straightforward declaration of oneself like the 2007 album, or many of the songs from the past.

So when word came that Meshell’s finished work on her new album titled ‘Weather’, and a song (track 8, ‘Dirty World’) was made available for download as a taster, we got the picture of an album equally in the manner and temperament of ‘Devil’s Halo’ and a blast from the past with the emphasized – flawlessly intriguing – bassline and some universal lyrics. Is this picture correct and is the album any good?

Since you probably have seen the Monthly Must header above this (and every) entry, you have guessed that the answer to the second part of the above question is a bit more than positive. Why? Because ‘Weather’ can be seen as a piece of art in multiple styles – and the key is in the title. On one hand, ‘Weather’ resonates well with the genre called quiet storm. Quiet storm is a sort of late-night radio-type of music which has airy compositions in slower tempo, and gains inspiration of jazz, rock, R&B (positively Motown, Stax or Chess, not the Beyoncé-Rihanna axis) or soul music. And we can see that certain songs – which also reach back to the moods of ‘Devil’s Halo’ – really go slow and let Meshell’s voice come in front with minimal piano and guitar accompaniment in most of such songs – such as the rather touching ‘Chelsea Hotel’, ‘Oysters’ or ‘Feeling For The Wall’. Piano parts are lush, yet effective and give a really nice atmosphere to the songs (like a synth texture would), sometimes even strings come to make the song more powerful (most notably in ‘Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear’ but also in one of the album’s high points, ‘Petite Mort’).
But why else could this album be called – in ‘the writer’s’ humble opinion – ‘Weather’. Well, weather can be really unsettled and variable. In keeping with that, on the album there are rather uptempo songs bearing a bit of rock’s harshness and dynamics, such as ‘Chances’ or ‘Dead End’.

Still, how do these diverse and varied settings, scenes and moods come together in a whole? The answer is: through Meshell Ndegeocello herself. Because – when it comes to arrangements and instruments used – her albums can be electronic, hip-hop/soul/r&b oriented or just a guitar-bass-drumset trio, her personality and outstanding musicianship shows. And give way to a truly original, unique and excited world of ideas and emotions.

Thus, ‘Weather’ is November’s Monthly Must.

Review: Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto

Now that I’ve given a ‘couple more’ listens to Coldplay’s song ‘Paradise’ (about which I wrote a just-as-much sentimental and romantic piece over here), all the blinded passion that it caused when heard for the first time (correction: the first fifty times), have not at all gone away. They rather transformed into some general appreciation, and some moderate looking-forward when it came to the subject of this review, the album, ‘Mylo Xyloto’.

I did not even listen to the songs when they were offered for streaming one-by-one, day-to-day before the album’s release on iTunes. On the other hand, pre-ordering was an almost compulsory thing since ‘Paradise’ was not just a well-written and flawlessly produced song, but also a pledge and promise: Coldplay are going to twist on their style and put out an album which redefines them just as much as reaffirms their signature songwriting and instrumentation known, recognized and acclaimed throughout  their career.

In that sense, the album delivers. Without doubt. We get both sides: incredibly crisp and polished, yet creative and uplifting, sometimes almost ethereal production – soundscapes, arrangements, sounds, mixing, the whole package – paired with the oh-so-well-known and oh-so-loved signature instrumental solutions from the band, and the sometimes overly romantic, yet very straightforward and lovable lyrical content Gwyneth Paltrow’s husband and his lot are renowned for.

Take the song ‘Charlie Brown’, for instance. I sincerely think this song is the quintessence of everything Coldplay have ever recorded and published. I could easily enumerate which segment or layer of ‘Charlie Brown’ conjures up which era, album, sound and piece of character of the band (beginning with the 4/4 rush of the drums, the dynamic and dense bass reminiscent of ‘X&Y’, the guitar melodies which could have been left on a hard drive or tape from the sessions of ‘A Rush Of Blood To The Head’) but that would be lengthy and pointless since it would give the general public the biased and untrue notion of ‘Mylo Xyloto’ being a repetitive and dull album and ‘Charlie Brown’ being the only good song on it. Or the only song whatsoever.

But that’s not the case. The album’s second side puts the stakes even higher. Rihanna’s featuring on the song ‘Princess of China’ could be perceived as some sort of a clever marketing decision, instead it becomes the album’s most dangerously experimental song but the most surprising as well: Rihanna’s not here only because of her exotic voice – on the contrary, the Barbadian singstress stays on par with Chris Martin’s lead and steps out alone into the spotlight only in the coda at the end. Then comes ‘Up In Flames’, one of the album’s four ballads with minimalistic – mainly acoustic – instrumentation. Then, after ‘A Hopeful Transmission’ comes the album’s climax ‘Don’t Let It Brake Your Heart’ after which we go ‘Up With The Birds’, an uplifting epilogue to the story of two lovers, Mylo and Xyloto.

‘Mylo Xyloto’ is an elegant, yet daring concept album with slow ballads, driving bursts of emotion, mixing rocking guitars and bass with drums in many places inspired by hip-hop, and much, much electronica put in place with extreme sense of proportionality, care and artistic bravery.
Besides that, it’s an emotional story, lovely and vivid story which gets you out of the war-torn (war porn-torn), alienated, overly digital and mechanic, everyday life.

And it’s also the first MONTHLY MUST.

Review: Yonderboi: Passive Control

Finally, the time has come for me to be able to review the latest album by one of Hungary’s finest, namely László Fogarasi Jr., or as we all know and listen to him; Yonderboi. The album was released on MOLE Listening Pearls, the German label known for keeping the flame of quality downtempo and general electronica alive and fuelled.

This time, however, here in Hungary, the album seems to have got the sufficient amount of attention and coverage (or somewhere near that): some magazines even had a cover story for it, for example Hungarian music news blog, Recorder, to which Yonderboi gave a lengthy interview explaining the ins and outs of what we now know as ‘Passive Control’.

In that interview (and its 2nd part) Yonderboi – among others – mentioned that Passive Control is a closing part of a trilogy of albums, bearing the colour red as its principle element in the artwork (also shot and produced by Yonderboi himself), thus closing the trilogy of RGB (the debut, titled ‘Shallow and Profound’ being primarily organised in green, and the sophomore effort, ‘Splendid Isolation’ sounding out blue). However, there’s also a generational and gender-related aspect of the three: ‘Shallow and Profound’ was the child (having been made “100% out of instinct, with nothing at stake” as Yonderboi put it), ‘Splendid Isolation’ was the man (“[…] when I listen to the album, I consider it an absolutely credible print of myself – the storms of emotion and passion of my 20s are there”) and now ‘Passive Control’ is the woman where Yonderboi “handed over the controls to music itself”. Question is, can we submit ourselves to the music?

Popping the album into the player (either physically or virtually, however it should be noted that the CD release looks really decent), the experience kicks off with ‘Sustainable Development’, a mellow, piano-led song with beautiful additions of – probably synthesized – double bass, strings, pads and guitar. These songs – especially when written and produced so well – serve as perfect kicks-off of albums, this time however, the song has sort of an in medias res atmosphere as the spoken word part is performed by the same Edward Ka-Spel (yes, from Legendary Pink Dots) who closed ‘Splendid Isolation’ the same way. This notion accompanies us throughout ‘Passive Control’ and this is where Yonderboi grabs us by our guts and ears: this really the closing part, with a feeling of departure and letting go shining through every single moment of this album. And this is why ‘Passive Control’ works perfectly only when it’s played in its entirety.

Not that the album consists of bad songs though, not at all. ‘I Am CGI’ serves with a great example of how creatively the individual pieces are structured: it starts of as a gag with a vibe usually a characteristic of  folk songs from the Balkans, but after 1/3 of the song, it changes into a rather nice house 4/4 with the synthesized cowbell sound guiding as through till the end. Same happens with ‘Roast Pigeon’ (one of the high points on ‘Passive Control’, besides ‘She Complains’, ‘Brighter Than Anything’, the hip-hop of ‘Inexhaustible Well’ which might remind us of Gorillaz’s better moments or ‘Come On Progeny’, the only song per se on ‘Passive Control’)

At this point, Yonderboi’s faithful professional companion, singer Charlotte Brandi should definitely be mentioned who is versatile, creative and lovable enough to serve the concept of the ‘woman’s album’, her voice adds a lot to the two more uplifting and complex songs which give the album sort of an ‘inner frame’, namely ‘She Complains’ and ‘Come On Progeny’.

The album quits with ‘After The Snap’, a cello-led song (cello parts played by Hungarian musician Albert Márkos) written in 3/4, during which we can almost see some sort of end credits.

Truth is, ‘Passive Control’ is a cohesive whole that was released just in time: mere ‘singles’ and ‘EPs’ have not yet taken over our lives, the habit and tradition of whole album experience is still followed by many and this situation helps the album somewhat. Nevertheless, the production and musicians are all great and the album makes a great and successful attempt of fusing acoustic – or at least acoustic-like – sounds with electronica and genres of electronic music. Fellow Hungarians, and fans of solid, enjoyable, yet complex music from all over the world: we still have someone to be proud of.

Review: Wilco: The Whole Love

Wilco has been kind of a black horse on the scene of – let’s put it that way shall we – mainstream popular music. As a group holding a Grammy award for their 2004 effort ‘A Ghost Is Born’ and having recently appeared in virtually every credible and established TV show there might be on American television (excluding Saturday Night Live… at least so far), one who has only heard and never listened to them might think they are country-experimental-art rock hotshots. But they are not.

Wilco – lead by brilliant singer-songwriter and poet, Jeff Tweedy – is rather the Bill Murray of bands: inexplicably cool and moderate, sometimes melancholic, sometimes harsh but always lovable and empathic. Wilco has been on the go for 17 years. That sure is a long time, so the question might go: are the broken flowers of 2011’s ‘The Whole Love’ stuck on groundhog day, might they even be lost in translation?

Wilco published two songs prior to the albums’s release, now-we-know track 2 ‘I Might’ and the laid-back and rather nicely done cover for Nick Lowe’s ‘I Love My Label’, as a nod to their now-independent standing with their aptly named dBpm records. These songs surely showed that the current line-up of Wilco is now a coherent band with tons of style, totally getting each other. ‘I Might’ was regarded to be a solid song, nothing more but in the structure of the album it plays an important role: with the distorted bassline, it serves as a bridge to bring the atmospheres and instrumentation to the level of acoustic guitars after the really aggressive and daring opening of ‘Art of Almost’ which simply has to be up there among Wilco’s most extreme and beautifully complex songs with epic strings, guitarist Nels Cline’s mad solo and outro, and obviously the rock-solid performance of bassist John Stirratt and drummer Glenn Kotche.

After this effective and grand opening, songs take on a more mellow and relaxed character with lots of acoustic guitars, sometimes with a rock-n-roll kind of swing with emphasized drumming (‘Dawned On Me’, ‘Standing O’), or in a fashion of classic ballads like the strings-accompanied ‘Black Moon’. Musically, the album’s second half strenthens this ‘autumn-ish, rural-melancholy’ feeling ending in the 12-minute ‘One Sunday Morning (A Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)’ which serves as a perfect take-off with its feeling of moving on.

Lyrically, ‘The Whole Love’ is definitely a top Wilco album. Jeff Tweedy’s thoughts are rather easy to feel for; they are general happenings – ordinary, even -, told with such soul, heart and wittyness, only few are capable of. News have also been saying that this time, the method of songwriting was different: Tweedy often sang in gibberish over the instrumentals, and used those mumblings as starting points to how the lyrics should soundlike, and chose the words accordingly. And of course, the case of ‘Born Alone’ is one

Tweedy's notes while writing 'Born Alone' (click for full size)

of the most curious: Tweedy jotted down the final words from lines of poems by Emily Dickinson and wrote the lyrics around them. (It’s only the icing on the cake that the song ends with a glissando in Shepard scale: “So I came up with the idea that we would end the song with a Shepard tone, which is a series of chords that when repeated continuously sounds like its descending or ascending. It’s kind of a musical trick—it sounds like it’s endlessly going deeper and deeper into the abyss” – said Tweedy.)

So how is ‘The Whole Love’? It is whole love. This album is Wilco’s essence, kicking off as experimental and careless as ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, contains lyrics that are easily on par with songs from ‘Summerteeth’ or the Grammy-winner ‘A Ghost Is Born’, containing daring guitar textures from Nels Cline that are comparable to those on ‘Wilco (The Album)’.
Only, the whole of the album is much more coherent – both lyrically and musically – and presents us a laid-back band comprised of individuals with unique personalities, style and knowledge of technique and composition.

Watch some live recordings:
‘Born Alone’ live on Letterman

 

Art of Almost live on Letterman