Their legs must get tired. Little Howrah Beach. October 2011.
Another Sunday means another Top Five. I have had the chance over the past month to give Chicago experimental rock combo Wilco's latest album The Whole Love, and it is a cracker.
All this has got me thinking, how might I narrow down their records thus far to a top five? Thus I have today's list, My Top Five Wilco Albums!
First up I am ruling out a host of collaborations that are extremely worthy in their own regard. The two albums with Billy Bragg - Mermaid Avenue and Mermaid Avenue Vol. II - working over some found Woody Guthrie lyrics are quite the achievement. I am a Bragg fan, but the Wilco efforts blow his away. Well worth tracking down.
I am also excluding Down With Wilco, the collaboration with The Minus 5 and the very interesting The Sun Came Out with Neil Finn.
This leaves nine. The elimination was easy, as 2005's Kicking Television was immediately ruled out, as I'm not counting live albums (however good). I am unsure whether having babies about the place at the time had an effect on my enjoyment of 2007's Sky Blue Sky and 2009's Wilco (The Album); but for whatever reason these two failed to connect with me. Sorry lads! Rounding out those that missed the cut was the debut effort A.M.. It's a top little record, but very much straight Alt-Country that doesn't quite challenge conventions of the peak periods.
Which gives me to Top Five:
- The Whole Love. I'm putting the latest one fifth. It could rise higher, but it has done very well to crack the five and signals a real return to form.
- A Ghost Is Born. Number four seems very low for what is an extraordinarily good record. Really, I could shuffle picks 4 through 2 and still not get it right. If you don't own it, please get it.
- Being There. A very different Wilco here, and probably their most conventional. Very much country in flavour, there is a fair bit here to signal the diversions to come.
- Summerteeth. The bridging effort in many respects. Classic country-flavoured pop with experimental diversions, this would be the album to introduce the newcomer too without scaring them off with the experimental noise.
- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. My tip for "greatest album ever". It just is. Just accept it.