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Summerteeth
     

Summerteeth

4.1 6
by Wilco
 
One of the many cryptic lines on Wilco's excellent new SUMMER TEETH goes, "Speakers speaking in code." It's more meaningful than one might think. Wilco, the brainchild of ex-Uncle Tupelo bassist Jeff Tweedy, is an alt-country band whose music presents a tough code to crack -- blurring the boundaries around rock, punk, country,

Overview

One of the many cryptic lines on Wilco's excellent new SUMMER TEETH goes, "Speakers speaking in code." It's more meaningful than one might think. Wilco, the brainchild of ex-Uncle Tupelo bassist Jeff Tweedy, is an alt-country band whose music presents a tough code to crack -- blurring the boundaries around rock, punk, country, alternative pop, and psychedelia so brilliantly that many fans don't consider the band alt-country at all. Tweedy is a grainy, gorgeous singer who writes great songs that seem channeled in from some car-radio Valhalla. Wilco's groundbreaking 1996 album, BEING THERE, saw him take roots-rock to stylistically experimental places it had never gone before, and SUMMER TEETH continues to homestead this uncharted territory. "Pieholden Suite" is a soft, gentle shuffle that morphs into a horn-drenched, string-soaked elegy to a first kiss that can only be described as cocktail country, while "Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again)" is pure, potent AM pop, hand claps and all. Still, should songs like "I'm Always in Love," an up-tempo rocker hooked around a spacey synthesizer, start to befuddle alt-country purists, the rugged, disconsolate acoustic guitar on "Via Chicago" will have 'em crying in their beer. Jeff Tweedy is a rare talent, an artist who has perfected and redefined a particular style of music with graceful ease, and SUMMER TEETH is a fantastic example of how talented he is.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Ankeny
Jeff Tweedy once blazed the trail for the American rock underground's embrace of its country and folk roots, but as the decade drew to a close he also began spearheading the return of classic pop; simply put, what once were fiddles on Wilco records became violins -- the same instrument, to be sure, but viewed with a radical shift in perception and meaning. While lacking the sheer breadth and ambition of the previous Being There, Summer Teeth is the most focused Wilco effort yet, honing the lessons of the last record to forge a majestic pop sound almost completely devoid of alt-country elements. The lush string arrangements and gorgeous harmonies of tracks like "She's a Jar" and "Pieholden Suite" suggest nothing less than a landlocked Brian Wilson, while more straightforward rockers like the opening "I Can't Stand It" bear the influence of everything from R&B to psychedelia. Still, for all of the superficial warmth and beauty of the record's arrangements, Tweedy's songs are perhaps his darkest and most haunting to date, bleak domestic dramas informed by recurring themes of alienation, adultery, and abuse -- even the sunniest melodies mask moments of devastating power. If Summer Teeth has a precedent, it's peak-era Band; the album not only possesses a similar pastoral sensibility, but like Robbie Robertson and company before them, Wilco seems directly connected to a kind of American musical consciousness, not only rejuvenating our collective creative mythology, but adding new chapters to the legend with each successive record.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/09/1999
Label:
Reprise / Wea
UPC:
0093624728221
catalogNumber:
47282
Rank:
25534

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Wilco   Primary Artist
Jay Bennett   Organ,Synthesizer,Banjo,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Bass Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Tambourine,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,Bells,farfisa organ,Lap Steel Guitar,Group Member
Ken Coomer   Drums,Timpani,Group Member
Dave Crawford   Trumpet
John Stirratt   Bass,Background Vocals,Group Member
Jeff Tweedy   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Harmonica,Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
Leroy Bach   Piano
Bob Egan   Group Member
Mark Greenberg   Vibes

Technical Credits

Jay Bennett   Composer
Mitch Easter   Engineer
Larry Greenhill   Engineer
John Stirratt   Composer
Jeff Tweedy   Composer
Wilco   Composer,Producer
Russ Long   Engineer
David Trumfio   Engineer
Mike Hagler   Engineer
Lawrence Azerrad   Artwork
Chris Grainger   Engineer
Dave Trumfio   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Summerteeth 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
AndyMac More than 1 year ago
Wilco's first delve into "experimental pop" is a rousing success. I pretty much love everything about this album. The beautiful, simple melody of My Darling reminds me that bands of this era are still influenced by The Beatles. The paradox between the somewhat dark lyrics and happy-go-lucky music of the title track is very easy to sing along to. And Tweedy's painful, sadistic words on Via Chicago suit nicely with the crackly guitar line. To me, this is a good example of why you can't pigeonhole this band as anything, really. Their scope and influence knows no bounds. And that is very refreshing. This isn't Nickelback singing a bunch of random, meaningless top 20 hits. While there's a place for that type of music, Wilco's effort is much deeper than anything you'll hear on the radio.
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