Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blessings #18

Wilco - The Whole Love (2011)

It's been a long run for Wilco (almost twenty years!) and as I listened to this record, I began to reflect on their prolific and influential history. The question I kept asking myself was, What is their best record? From their country rock roots in "A.M." and "Being There" to the well-rounded turn in "Summer Teeth". Then their infamous experimental pop-rock blast, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", that got them dumped by their label and their really experimental "Ghost Is Born" that shook off all the bandwagon fans from the previous outing. Followed by the gentle flow of "Sky Blue Sky" that was a blessed reprieve from all of the experiments. After that came their eponymous seventh album that sounded great out of the gate then faded fast and finally we get "The Whole Love", which I approached cautiously but became enamored with after listening long into the night. Which one would you choose? Yankee is such an obvious choice because everyone knows it by heart but I have to say that it hasn't held up over time for me. When I go back and listen I enjoy the one right before it more. The first two seem to be stuck in the shadow of Uncle Tupelo (what a bad move that was, eh, Jay?). Sky has stuck with me over the years and I can still listen to that one the most, while the one that came after I could never listen to again and I wouldn't feel like I missed anything. But this one, The Whole Love, just may be the best of all. It seems to have captured the best moments in all of the others and transcribed them into something powerful. But the greatest accomplishment is that, after all these years, the band continues to push forward with a captivating energy that sets its hooks into you and drags you along the blessed road that will forever lead to the land of Wilco.

A Town Called Panic - Stephane Aubier & Vincent Patar (2009)

If you would like to see a really crazy animated movie that was made in France and features plastic toys, headlined by a horse that can talk and drive a car, a cowboy and an indian who are best friends that can't seem to do anything right and strange underwater creatures that steal homes for a living, along with a neighbor who shouts dramatically every time he opens his mouth and his wife who loves him but constantly flirts with the policeman who runs the toll booth next to their homes, surrounded by a bunch of farm animals who attend music school every day that is taught by the horse's dream mate, while they stumble into an adventure that sends them from their humble town to the center of the earth to the north pole where a mechanical penguin tank piloted by superhuman scientists conducts experiments involving giant snowballs tossed all over the earth to a town beneath the ocean that mirrors our protagonists almost exactly...well, then you came to the right place. Dont' panic, it's as silly as it sounds and just as wonderful.

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