The Weekly Cusp. Also, I Talk about Wilco.

I’m sitting here now pleasantly inebriated on gin and tonic and the braggadocio that ferments in the minds of men when they sit on a Sunday evening in the quaking wake of weekend expenditures that is the same as a desert of displays of talent.

We are perched on the ice ledge of the black diamond hill that is the working week.  Do you have the black diamond slalom skills to maneuver the laws of douchebaggery?

I am here listening to You Are My Face from the album “Sky Blue Sky” by Wilco.  I’m listening to the whole album, song by song,  in succession, actually.  Good on these windy city men for having sold so much of their excellently crafted musicianship from this album to VW for their recent U.S. T.V. advertising campaign.  A few hasty reviews emerged as soon as this album came out chastising these guys from the invisible electronic packing peanut gallery for, to paraphrase one one influential armchair rocker website, carrying a dad-rock gene they’ve always carried but attempted to disguise.  To surmise the band thus is offensive.  The reason that this so offensively wrong surmising of Wilco’s current album’s sound came about is myriad.

Let’s listen to me talk about it?



Constantly-updated websites that curry to repeated page refreshes for tiny tidbits of pop knowledge for the just got to college ephemera po-po are products of a culture that can rely on truly real-time guarantees of reader impression levels for web sites.  Almost anyone can put up a website and sell advertising on it as a piggyback to the hard work put in by artists who put out something for bloggers to talk about.  The more frequently you can guarantee status-increasing informational updates to the coolerati, the more incentive they will have to visit the sites that talk about what makes them cool.  Therefore, there is more incentive for the websites that talk about music to update more frequently.  There is then more incentive to fill more positions for “journalists” to blog with less time and seasoning required by the DIY ethic to get them to pass muster.  As long as they adopt the current pop party line, they are hip and in.  As long as they believe themselves to be current and modern, yet somehow remain unable to see the points of view of others as valid, they are in.  The writer is more than likely young and very sure that his or her enthusiasm for music can be directly translated into an incontrovertibly authoritative position.  Chastising this veteran band for failing to uphold a musical style that fits within the narrowly defined boundaries of what the writer considers “experimental” is stupid.  Instead of finding the strands of the current album’s style that are carryovers from previous stylistic mutations and perhaps working to hear where the band is going with what it is doing, the writer at Pitchfork decides it’s better to publicly hate on his dad.

This is a quieter record than the past couple, but it is not a total stylistic retreat or a stark about-face for the outfit.  The clean, occasionally Thin Lizzy-esque guitar tones were first allowed to ring out on the great selection of rhythmic, hypnotic songs that comprised “A Ghost is Born”, notably as staccato bursts in Spiders.  Of course, with DIY also making the amount of music available to the niche-quarantined masses simply impossible to process meaningfully if a person is even remotely staying on top of what is coming out month to month, it’s probably not at the top of the list of priorities to sit back and listen to a slower album when you have 5 new scenester records coming out to, along with the rest of your professional brood, incorrectly apply the same references to some band that writers currently think makes them sound possessed of arcane and obscure musical knowledge.

“Sky Blue Sky” (Wilco)