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Wilco: Summerteeth (Deluxe Edition)

Summerteeth (Deluxe Edition)
  • Music
  • by Wilco | Apr 23rd, 2021
  • Music
  • Sonics
  • A
  • A
  • A

“The way things go/You get so low/Struggle to find your skin.” Those portentous words start the tracing of lead singer Jeff Tweedy and Wilco’s wrestlings with drugs, mental health, friendships, fatherhood, and finding a sound outside their alt-country roots. With vintage guitar prices skyrocketing, member Jay Bennett had started buying the old synths and keyboards that set the tone for Summerteeth. The arrangements, influenced by the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Van Dyke Parks, countered the anguished, surreal, or grotesque lyrics with their exuberant baroque sunshine. This remastering of the original CD only adds more dynamic range compression; hi-res files trump both versions. De rigueur discs of demos rarely entice me, but alternate takes of “Summer Teeth” and “Tried and True” are exceptions; the dozen eerie tracks with Jeff and his guitar embrace loneliness rather than fight it, similar to Springsteen’s Nebraska. The interview with Tweedy in the booklet is a must-have, but the crown goes to the two discs from a brilliant 1999 Boulder, Colorado, show. Older songs get a ragged psych touch; newer songs are guitar-heavier without the overdubbed keyboard layers, revealing one more tantalizing direction that Wilco could have gone.


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