Sunday, August 01, 2004

As of today, Wilco's "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" is my official Favorite Song Not Single Of 2004 (last year's winner was "Synthesizer" by Electric Six). Recent experiences with semipopular rock have left me wondering if I'm unable to appreciate such stuff with the same enthusiasm I had for it in high school (unless I've liked the songs since high school). Most recent favorites are coherent and blatant takes on a specific emotion. "Toxic" is lust. "Burn" is heartache. "I Don't Wanna Know" is fear. "Clarity" is serenity. We can debate the value of these songs, whether there are enough truly rewarding elements within, but not what they're about. Are the beauties of obscurity and the abstract lost on me?

Not necessarily. My inner REM fan is alive and well, indifferent to whether or not Tweedy's mumbles add up to much, settling for some neat images (better than Stipe's ever were) and hooks like "it's good to be alone." The spaz-guitar freak in me is giddy to follow that Ira Kaplan-esque lead all over the fretboard and ever since my first listen to "I'm Waiting For Man" in middle school I've never denied myself an insistent, caffeinated dun-dun-dun-dun beat. If anything, it reminds me of stuff I've recorded, sputtering guitar blats over metronomic precision (I use a drum machine cuz my drummer of choice lives in Ohio) only with better vocal control, lyrics that avoid cheap sentimentality (I can't seem to avoid AABB rhymes, obvious angst and l-u-v) and great production. Judging by the frequency with which with I play this track, this might be the sound of my head when I'm lost in thought, when its good to be alone.

(btw, the rest of A Ghost Is Born is growing on me a lot. While I had a similar reaction as xgau to that BOOK of shit lyrics that comes with the album, I don't think a guy who gave almost everything by Pavement an A- or higher should be calling Yankee Hotel Foxtrot fans "suckers.")

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