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Being There

music reviewmusic reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Being There

Artist: Wilco
Genre: Rock/Pop
Release Date: October 1996

Review by LarryG
4 stars out of 4

Being There is a sprawling, fun cd. It probably didn't have to be 2 discs but going beyond 1 disc is a symbol of the band's ambition and often charmingly meandering style. The first disc is clearly strongest. Every song is definitely a keeper and Wilco mixes things up so it doesn't get too heavy or too light. It starts with Misunderstood, which keeps building in intensity until the tension gets so high that the song dissolves into dissonance. They follow with the considerably lighter Far, Far Away and then pick things right up with the great rockers Monday and Outtasite(outta mind). They take a rest with the endearingly dopey country song Forget The Flowers, then follow that with a heartbreaking lost love song Red Eyed and Blue and to keep things from getting too serious they launch into the delirious rocker I Got You where it seems the band is having such a good time that they don't want to stop. The general sense is of a band having a good time but still willing to try new things. The transcendent Hotel Arizona is hypnotically intense but still a fun rocker. Only the knowingly stupid Kingpin is unable to find the right balance. Part of the charm of Being There is that singer/writer Jeff Tweedy is clearly a music fan. Many of the songs are about loving music, from The Lonely 1 about unashamedly being a groupie to Someone Else's Song, about the difficulty of doing differently and better than your idols. The playing is great on the rockers and the slow ones. Being There shows a band able to make a great rock record and looking to still get better.

Here's what others reviewers have to say:

"...Tweedy and his band break free from the confines of the arrow Tupelo legacy by exploring the nuances of noise and atmosphere....a product of ambitious versatility, particularly in the string-band textures conjured by...Max Johnston..." 4 Stars (out of 5)  Rolling Stone 11/14/96, pp.111-112

"...trades unity in for riskier mood swings....For all his banjo-loving folksiness, he understands a simple secret: That rock'n'roll as invented to fly in the face of country's offer a few ho little minutes of joy..." 7 (out of 10)  Spin 11/96, pp.122-123



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