A Ghost Is Born





How does a band like Wilco follow up the most critically acclaimed album of their career - an album that from start to finish is a complete work of artistic, creative and musical genius? Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the previous album in question, is an offering that needs to be listened to start to finish. It contains some great songs, but what makes it unique and memorable for the listener is how the album is greater than the sum of its parts. Even the single, "Heavy Metal Drummer," could not come close to capturing the brilliance of the album as a whole. With A Ghost Is Born, Wilco seem to have taken a different approach, where individual songs take center stage over the album as a whole. Ghost is made up of some of the best songs of the band's career and while extended distortion and other oddities find themselves making the leap over from YHF, the majority of tracks are easily accessible to the average music listener. Songs like "Company In My Back," "Muzzle Of Bees," "Theologians," "Hummingbird," and my personal favorite, "I'm A Wheel," show what an incredible songwriter Jeff Tweedy truly is (fellow songwriter Jesse Malin puts Tweedy on par with Bob Dylan). These songs combine the challenging aspects of their music that have allowed Wilco to both attract a cult-like following and alienate themselves from mainstream success. A Ghost Is Born is filled with songs that sound oddly familiar, almost like they've been hovering around in our collective unconscious just waiting for someone to grab them. They may lack that indescribable "something" that ties them all together like the songs on YHF, but this is made up for by the fact that each individual song on Ghost is like a little musical snapshot all its own. Will this be the album that takes Wilco from critical darlings to mainstream success? I've got my fingers crossed.

Wilco
Nonesuch

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A Ghost Is Born