by carl wilson

The Wilco Contest: The One No One Can Win

All right, that does it. Nothing against The Toronto Star's Vit Wagner, whom I've never met but seems somehow in print like he must be a certifiably charming guy. But Wilco... the ... best... band... in... the... world? Nuh-uh.

Now, before we begin debating, hereby know that I have not heard a single note of A Ghost Is Born, Jeff Tweedy's latest mash-note to himse... No. Wait.

The fact is that Wilco has become a media monster, a band that is discussed in relation to a mythos whose ways and bends are mapped on a scale much larger than anything remotely contained in its music. Wilco is one of hundreds of perfectly pleasant bands whose music can come and go and make no difference whatsoever to me or - on any level I've yet heard anyone articulate - anybody else. Yet there are now movies, books and more articles and blog entries on this band out in the universe than there are starving, sick and hunted people in Darfur. I suspect even Wilco recognizes the absurdity of this.

My pledge then is to add no more to the madness. Not only have I not heard A Ghost Is Born, I actively intend not to. I also intend not to have any opinion about it whatsoever. Nor will I participate in any discussion of it. This pledge good at least until January 2005.

I think that in rock-critic terms this is a near-exact equivalent of the Seinfeld contest. Any takers? Do I have what it takes to be master of my muso domain? King of my critical castle? Not sure, but let's all pop some prescription medication, swallow hard and try to prove that we are not helpless puppets fated to jerk the Tweedy-hot-or-not stick till it snaps.

Gentlemen, start your engines. Comrades, lay down your pens.

On Record | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, June 29 at 3:33 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (11)



no offence,
but surely if you are to indulge in cultural music criticism, you should approach a criticism of a pertinent cultural music ensemble?
to active not engage is probably as bad as engaging blindly.

Posted by greg on July 28, 2004 6:44 AM



I made the same pledge about the Sopranos after reading a Globe column explaining how the Sopranos was 'just like life'.

Posted by Sean D on July 18, 2004 10:44 AM



But you have to admit I was right about Mario Lemieux.

Posted by vfw on July 6, 2004 10:08 AM



What is a game without temptation? Speaking of O'Rourke, he and the rest of Sonic Youth were on Leno last night. Strange...

Posted by Carl Z. on June 30, 2004 9:54 AM



while i can't applaud yr insularity, i can tell you that you're not missing anything--and i'm a huge wilco fan. the last three albums are among my favourite ever, and this one is the obvious sound of tweedy losing the plot in a haze of painkillers. it's nowhere near as interesting enough to be the oh-so-experimental work his wannabe-martyr defenders claim it is, and it also fails miserably as a pop record. YHF balanced this beautifully, and now that everyone's caught on, the mainstream press are rolling out the hyperboles simply because they've never sat through a Can record--or even a Lou Reed record, to say nothing of a Jim O'Rourke record--in their lives.
sorry for the rant. you make me feel like i should be talking about darfur instead.
p.s. thanks for the beautiful pieces on xiu xiu and ray condo, among others, in recent months--i've been meaning to write for a while.

Posted by barclay on June 30, 2004 9:52 AM



i can't make the same pledge. especially as i'm halfway through a review of greg kot's book.
but, in the same spirit, i will promise never to be seen writing about the indigo girls.
so there.

Posted by agw on June 30, 2004 1:17 AM



Stop trying to get me to discuss Wilco, Zimring. I'm on to your trixxx. You got money on this?

Posted by Zoilus on June 29, 2004 6:47 PM



Does Nels Cline play on the CD? Does Jim O'Rourke? I can't say I'm a huge fan of Tweedy's (and it's entirely possible I will miss this disc), but he has excellent taste in guitarists.

Posted by Carl Z. on June 29, 2004 6:41 PM



Bless you, Carl. Now I won't have to spray a mall.

Posted by Dave Purcell on June 29, 2004 5:12 PM



Who the hell is Wilco?

Posted by Colonel Tom on June 29, 2004 4:58 PM



If a rock critic has an opinion but doesn't express it, does s/he still make a sound?

Posted by sakamoto on June 29, 2004 4:20 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson