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SBS and (The Album)...Inevitable Decline


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It had been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that Wilco is simply a band on the creattive decline.

 

Sky Blue Sky and (The Album) are indicative of the creative demise that we've all witnessed in many other bands in the past.

 

ie. The Replacements, The Grateful Dead, the Stones, and My Morning Jacket just to name a few.

 

While they still play great live, I find myself less pysched to see them live since the setlists are dominated by the newest lame material.

 

Is anybody else depressed by Wilco(The Decline) ?

 

Is a bounce back possible? I am doubtful unless Tweedy starts smoking weed again.

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Yawner (The Thread) v.16.89901

 

The suggestion that Tweedy needs to get stoned is ridiculous. Wilco are blowing crowds away every night, and from what I can see Jeff's best writing may still be ahead of him. If it's not your cup, so be it. No need to shit on someone else's creations.

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They're actually not on a creative decline. I can't speak for the Dead or the Replacements, but W(TA) and EU are far from awful records.

 

They're all now making music that you don't enjoy as much. Which is fine. but it doesn't mean they're on a creative decline.

I agree.

EU is nowhere near a musical decline for MMJ. It, imho, was a risky move for them...pushed JJ's creativity, etc.

(TA) doesn't take the same risks MMJ took with EU, but it is a great album and flows very nicely from one song to the next. Again, imho, it seems like Jeff and co were able to create a cumulative album that captures who/what WILCO is.

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I agree.

EU is nowhere near a musical decline for MMJ. It, imho, was a risky move for them...pushed JJ's creativity, etc.

(TA) doesn't take the same risks MMJ took with EU, but it is a great album and flows very nicely from one song to the next. Again, imho, it seems like Jeff and co were able to create a cumulative album that captures who/what WILCO is.

I really don't understand how anyone could even say EU is a creative decline. Even if you don't like it, you should at least be able to acknowledge that they made something different from what they'd been making, which is pretty much the definition of creativity. Drummer8864 has confused "creative music" with "music I enjoy." They're not at all exclusive.

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This thread is neither the best nor my favorite.

:thumbup

 

The difference I'm noticing isn't a decline but a maturing. The music you make in your forties isn't going to be the same as what you made in your twenties. No doubt that some artists go downhill when they get over the hill, but listen to this album and tell me this is a decline. Bull Black Nova? One of their toughest, most raw sounding songs ever. You Never Know and Wilco (the song)? Catchiest stuff yet. One Wing and You & I? Mature takes on love and relationships that at times either soar, bounce, or sway. And they always make you think. What could be wrong with any of that?

 

After having said all that, I can see where drummer9867754q9r is coming from sort of. When the album was streaming I hated it. Hate might not be strong enough, actually. I didn't spend the same kind of time and energy with it that I did once it was on CD, and came away thinking that this was a band on the way down. So, drummer87893625470885411=, give it another shot and it'll come to you. Some of the best albums are like that.

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It had been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that Wilco is simply a band on the creattive decline.

 

Sky Blue Sky and (The Album) are indicative of the creative demise that we've all witnessed in many other bands in the past.

 

ie. The Replacements, The Grateful Dead, and My Morning Jacket just to name a few.

 

While they still play great live, I find myself less pysched to see them live since the setlists are dominated by the newest lame material.

 

Is anybody else depressed by Wilco(The Decline) ?

 

Is a bounce back possible? I am doubtful unless Tweedy starts smoking weed again.

 

Don't worry, it'll be OK. You'll find another band to enjoy. Judging by your example list you have been through this many times before in the last thirty years. Great and lame are antonyms, BTW.

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Johnny Cash came out with the American Recordings, Bob Dylan had his trilogy, the Stones...hmm, might have to go back to Tatoo You...I hear share your concern (though I'm not as down on the new record as you) but won't give up hope yet.

 

I have noticed that Tweedy, not being in so much turmoil as in the past, has started to write from different points of view, either in the third person (Deeper Down)or first person narrator who is someone different than the author (I'll Fight). This is something i can't remember him doing much of in the past (this is off the top of my head, I'm saying this not having gone through my collection scanning closely for examples). Which is probably a good thing, because the "i've come to terms with things" theme wouldn't be good for more than one record (SBS). So maybe this development will lead somewhere interesting.

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i was refering to the later trilogy. Before that there was oh mercy and before that there was Blood on the Tracks...but he had his fair share of clunkers too.

I know what you were referring to.

 

But if you compare the family life aspects, Dylan's "country" albums are similar to SBS and W(TA). Damn good albums, but noticeably calmer than what came before. Dylan quickly moved on, and continued to release more great music. I'm not saying Jeff will go through a BOTT, nor do I wish him to, but a happy family life doesn't necessarily mean the end of edgy music. Honestly, I'm pretty damn excited to see how Jeff's writing progresses from here.

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It had been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that Wilco is simply a band on the creattive decline.

 

Is a bounce back possible? I am doubtful unless Tweedy starts smoking weed again.

 

Wow. I don't really know which to start with. First of all, to even say that a "bounce back" needs to happen through drug use in order to meet your own desire for a certain musical aesthetic is incredibly low, especially considering what this great songwriter has been through. Not to mention extremely selfish, as you are basically hoping that Tweedy smokes marijuana in order to make music that you want to hear. Also, the fact that you think that smoking weed is needed for your desired aesthetic to be made is simply ludicrous. Records like YHF and Summerteeth were crafted through musical ingenuity and talent, and the desire to create what was made AT THAT TIME.

 

In addition, who says that a "bounce back" is even required? I think it is stupid to say that Wilco are in a musical place that they need to bounce out of... Your argument is based on the fact that the past two records haven't been YHF or AGIB, or the other earlier works... This is obvious. Just like those records, the band created SBS and W(TA) based on what they wanted to make at the time, and what they knew to be their best musical statement. I believe this in itself is extremely mature and musically innovative. Besides, THEY are the ones with the artistic vision. We as listeners cannot decide what they want to make, nor is it fair to expect them to meet a certain musical aesthetic. I think that SBS and W(TA) are prime examples of an innovative band for these reasons.. they are putting forth what they feel the best creating. What more can be asked of artists?

 

By the way, If you want your "non-declining" wilco, then a record called Yankee Hotel Foxtrot exists, for you to listen to! Imagine that!

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Wow. I don't really know which to start with. First of all, to even say that a "bounce back" needs to happen through drug use in order to meet your own desire for a certain musical aesthetic is incredibly low, especially considering what this great songwriter has been through. Not to mention extremely selfish, as you are basically hoping that Tweedy smokes marijuana in order to make music that you want to hear. Also, the fact that you think that smoking weed is needed for your desired aesthetic to be made is simply ludicrous. Records like YHF and Summerteeth were crafted through musical ingenuity and talent, and the desire to create what was made AT THAT TIME.

 

In addition, who says that a "bounce back" is even required? I think it is stupid to say that Wilco are in a musical place that they need to bounce out of... Your argument is based on the fact that the past two records haven't been YHF or AGIB, or the other earlier works... This is obvious. Just like those records, the band created SBS and W(TA) based on what they wanted to make at the time, and what they knew to be their best musical statement. I believe this in itself is extremely mature and musically innovative. Besides, THEY are the ones with the artistic vision. We as listeners cannot decide what they want to make, nor is it fair to expect them to meet a certain musical aesthetic. I think that SBS and W(TA) are prime examples of an innovative band for these reasons.. they are putting forth what they feel the best creating. What more can be asked of artists?

 

By the way, If you want your "non-declining" wilco, then a record called Yankee Hotel Foxtrot exists, for you to listen to! Imagine that!

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It had been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that Wilco is simply a band on the creattive decline.

 

Sky Blue Sky and (The Album) are indicative of the creative demise that we've all witnessed in many other bands in the past.

 

ie. The Replacements, The Grateful Dead, and My Morning Jacket just to name a few.

 

While they still play great live, I find myself less pysched to see them live since the setlists are dominated by the newest lame material.

 

Is anybody else depressed by Wilco(The Decline) ?

 

Is a bounce back possible? I am doubtful unless Tweedy starts smoking weed again.

 

 

It's simple really. Fans of little known but criticially lauded bands always feel betrayed when they move on to a wider audience. I know exactly where you're coming from here. You don't want to like them any more because the new audience is 'not worthy'. It's a kind of jealousy, resentment (towards the new fans), because the band is no longer in your private club anymore.

 

It's always been this way. You like making the discoveries and cherishing 'new' finds and the 'gatecrashers' just come and steal the magic. It was ever thus. I guarantee if your aunt come and tells you how she likes that 'You Never Know' song she heard on the radio you won't want to play it again.

 

Music snobs? Probably. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Atleast you can always say 'I saw them before they were famous'....

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It's simple really. Fans of little known but criticially lauded bands always feel betrayed when they move on to a wider audience. I know exactly where you're coming from here. You don't want to like them any more because the new audience is 'not worthy'. It's a kind of jealousy, resentment (towards the new fans), because the band is no longer in your private club anymore.

 

It's always been this way. You like making the discoveries and cherishing 'new' finds and the 'gatecrashers' just come and steal the magic. It was ever thus. I guarantee if your aunt come and tells you how she likes that 'You Never Know' song she heard on the radio you won't want to play it again.

 

Music snobs? Probably. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Atleast you can always say 'I saw them before they were famous'....

while there is at least a grain of truth in what you say (and probably as very big one), your theory fails to take under consideration one thing: the music. It's possible that the O.P. simply doesn't like the new stuff. I too feel it isn't as strong as the earlier stuff, and i live in a place where noone has heard of wilco as is not likely to anytime soon. so snobbery (while perhaps present) does not in this case apply.

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It's simple really. Fans of little known but criticially lauded bands always feel betrayed when they move on to a wider audience. I know exactly where you're coming from here. You don't want to like them any more because the new audience is 'not worthy'. It's a kind of jealousy, resentment (towards the new fans), because the band is no longer in your private club anymore.

 

It's always been this way. You like making the discoveries and cherishing 'new' finds and the 'gatecrashers' just come and steal the magic. It was ever thus. I guarantee if your aunt come and tells you how she likes that 'You Never Know' song she heard on the radio you won't want to play it again.

 

Music snobs? Probably. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Atleast you can always say 'I saw them before they were famous'....

Yeah, this post is just as dismissive as what you're accusing him of.

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Wow. I don't really know which to start with. First of all, to even say that a "bounce back" needs to happen through drug use in order to meet your own desire for a certain musical aesthetic is incredibly low, especially considering what this great songwriter has been through. Not to mention extremely selfish, as you are basically hoping that Tweedy smokes marijuana in order to make music that you want to hear. Also, the fact that you think that smoking weed is needed for your desired aesthetic to be made is simply ludicrous. Records like YHF and Summerteeth were crafted through musical ingenuity and talent, and the desire to create what was made AT THAT TIME.

 

In addition, who says that a "bounce back" is even required? I think it is stupid to say that Wilco are in a musical place that they need to bounce out of... Your argument is based on the fact that the past two records haven't been YHF or AGIB, or the other earlier works... This is obvious. Just like those records, the band created SBS and W(TA) based on what they wanted to make at the time, and what they knew to be their best musical statement. I believe this in itself is extremely mature and musically innovative. Besides, THEY are the ones with the artistic vision. We as listeners cannot decide what they want to make, nor is it fair to expect them to meet a certain musical aesthetic. I think that SBS and W(TA) are prime examples of an innovative band for these reasons.. they are putting forth what they feel the best creating. What more can be asked of artists?

 

By the way, If you want your "non-declining" wilco, then a record called Yankee Hotel Foxtrot exists, for you to listen to! Imagine that!

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Guest Speed Racer

Yeah, this post is just as dismissive as what you're accusing him of.

 

I don't know that it is. For a lot of people, a wider audience "makes" the music as lousy and less creative as if it were objectively garbage. A lot of fans project their identity or their emotions onto bands, whether they would articulate this or not:

 

Wilco = my emotions, my emotions are unique. After the band attracts a wider audience:

 

Wilco = my emotions and my boss's emotions and my dad's emotions? My emotions are no longer unique. -OR-

 

Wilco = my emotions, and my boss and dad are misusing these things that embody my spirit, and might be fooled into thinking they GET me! I simply cannot abide by their blasphemy, and will retaliate by telling them Wilco is lame.

 

If you've been around the boards a while (and you have), you'll see that this resentment and detachment comes up with every new studio album, usually manifest as, "the music sucks." That's not dismissive.

 

Of course, to many people the new music actually does suck, in which case they can either stay on the train and hope Wilco signs to American Recordings in 2035, or wait at the station and catch the next train.

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Guest Runaway Jim

SBS and W(ta) are my least favorite Wilco albums, but I still think Wilco & Jeff will churn out some really good shit for years to come. He's too prolific a songwriter. He'll do it until he physically can't anymore.

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I was worried that their decline was in full steam because of SBS but I happen to love their new album. It is kind of a hard thing to realize that your favorite band for years is not your favorite anymore... But that's part of life. And that's ok.

 

I do agree with your comments about their live shows. I haven't been to one in a while. Ever since Nels came on board I feel like their setlist rarely varies and that I'm watching a franchise and not the band I loved years ago.

 

Let's face it, unless Wilco is the exception to the rule, but most bands or even scientists like Einstein have that magical 7-10 year zone of brilliance. My only hope is that if they ever feel that what they are doing is not exciting, they should step away. But then again, I'm not one to ask someone to put down a multi-million dollar franchise either.

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It's eerie how my thinking is similar to many people on this board. My immediate thought upon reading the opening post was Dylan's John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. I can't imagine what some of Dylan's diehard fans were saying and how they were dealing with these albums so close to Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited. I'm not ready to put Jeff Tweedy alongside Bob Dylan, but both are great artists.

 

I don't agree with what you're stating about Wilco per se, but I understand your feelings. I really haven't connected with Ryan Adams' recent output and have basically given up on him since Rock 'n' Roll. It probably has just as much to do with me as his music. In my mind, I hold his Whiskeytown material and Heartbreaker as the height of his musical output and judge all of remaining material in light of that era. Now, it very well may be that in time, the general consensus may be that his Whiskeytown material and his early solo output to be his creative peak, but he's proven too talented to dismiss his other output.

 

I agree with those that mentioned Jeff's lyrics continue to evolve and change, both in tone, subject matter, and switching more between first, second, and third person. Their sound continues to change. Yes they seem more polished now, and if that's not your thing, I understand jumping off the bandwagon.

 

More than anything, I think the repeated posts speculating about Wilco's creative decline (this seems to have been going on more frequently since SBS was first leaked right?) shows the passion that many Wilco fans have for what each considers "the Wilco sound they believe most encapsulates their talents" - it obviously has been harder for Wilco fans to change with their evolution of the band than it has been for the band to continue to change, grow, and take risks.

 

I think I'll always have a special place for Wilco because with or without me, they are true to their vision, they push themselves and don't rest on their laurels, and they have a sound track record of combining melodic music with sophisticated lyrics.

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