Nothing inspires me to write like great music. Here’s an artist or tune that’s been tickling my ears lately and serving as one of my writing prompts.
I moved to Chicago in 1998. Once transplanted, it didn’t take me too long to discover a local band the Windy City was proud to call its own—Wilco.
By the time I first met the group, they’d been around and playing under the name Wilco for four years—the product (or fallout) of a breakup by the band Uncle Tupelo. Lead singer Jeff Tweedy took the reigns in 1994 and never let go, despite the revolving door of band mates that he and bassist John Stirratt have seen around them.
I can’t say Wilco’s my favorite alt rock band to spring up out of Chicago—Smashing Pumpkins will always hold that spot—but they have been able to successfully capture my attention over the past couple of decades…not an easy feat in today’s saturated music age.
In putting out their latest album earlier this month, Wilco had two tough acts to follow. The band’s last two albums—The Whole Love and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot—had taken the alt music scene by storm, scoring high marks from most music critics for their unpredictable natures. And so the band’s ninth album—Star Wars—had to remain on par.
I’m still giving it a first few listens, but it appears they’ve done just that. It’s definitely a fairly trippy album by Wilco’s standards, reminding me at times of The Beatles’ Revolver album. And Dave Simpson from The Guardian agrees, though he hears a few different tunes:
“Stars Wars brings together the unfamiliar but similarly adventurous bedfellows of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, the spacier end of the glam era (David Bowie’s Space Oddity, Lou Reed’s Transformer) and the Beatles White Album, one of Tweedy’s all-time favourites. Star Wars sees stoner rock’n’roll nestling up to psychedelic singsongs and acid-drop pop, by route of unusual sounds ranging from a ticking clock-type melody to what may be a jumbo jet.”
Presently, Wilco’s offering the album for free via their website. Even if you’ve given them a listen before and didn’t dig their sound, give ’em another go. You’ve got nothing to lose.