Tuesday, October 18, 2005

W, III (MN:7)

Wilco- Being There

I credit my coworkers at Newbury Comics with a slice of my music education. When I started working at the store in 1997, I didn’t have any problem with playing the same three CD’s over and over again (Jawbox, Cast Iron hike and Superchunk). Predictably, the rest of the staff started to (gently, yes) steer me in other directions, broadening my very narrow pallete and keeping everyone at the store from committing any post office-esque disgruntled atrocities.

I was drawn to Wilco because of the tone of some of the songs- the debuts on each of the album’s two discs are very moody, very dour. They reminded me of emo. The sense of playfulness appealed to me, as well- doing the same song in different styles on both discs, ripping off the theme from ‘Sesame Street’ pretty much note for note. The genius tag was already being touted for Jeff Tweedy, I remember, because of the double album. As with most, it would have been a much tighter single disc, but the reasons for putting out double albums are long and varied. It’s usually more about showcasing stylistics than it is putting out twenty-plus songs that cohere into a solid whole (note that I said usually).

Wu-Tang Clan- The W
Wu-Tang Clan- Iron Flag

The Wu-Tang bug hit me all at once in the summer of 1998, for no discernable reason. I bought ’36 Chambers’ and spent the summer listening to little else. I liked the fact that there were so many guys rapping on the records, and that there was a huge sense of humor at play even though the act seldom slipped into outright silliness. So much of the Wu Tang’s early stuff slipped effortlessly into the big manilla folder of injokes.

I picked up the double album, “Wu Tang Forever”, and was charmed, although it was occasionally a bit tough to wade through some of the less-than-stellar material to get to the good bits. Still, though, the humor was fully intact, U God was out of jail, and everything was good.

Of course, by the time ‘The W’ was released, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (R.I.P.) was in prison. Didn’t stop him from appearing on the record- he has a bit that sounds like it was recorded from across the room with a Mr. Microphone or something. (The rest of the Wu wisely decided not to include any more jailhouse Dirty on ‘Iron Flag’.) The rest of the act compensates for his absence well- the aforementioned U God says some amazingly ignorant shit that might/not be serious, Ghostface throws out staccato proclamations, Method Man flows. ‘The W’ doesn’t quite stack up to the most majestic moments of the first two records, but it has its own. Production is a little less gimmicky, more subdued- totally solid, with lines and bits that stick. ‘Iron Flag’ is okay, maybe a notch or two below that of ‘The W’. You know how it is- I don’t really listen to a lot of hip hop, even though I try.


Blogger unixlinux said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:02 PM  
Blogger DjSquared said...

Plow! How you like me now.- ODC
(Ol' Dirty Chuck)

1:47 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

ODC = in the hizzle!

12:15 PM  

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