Wilco

A Ghost Is Born (Nonesuch)

The Notebook
It's little surprise that Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy recently completed rehab for painkiller addiction; the man who summoned A Ghost Is Born is clearly haunted. After ambitious stabs at a history-of-rock concept album and a summery pop record culminated in 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -- a post-9-11 rumination on the state of America, famously recorded prior to September 11 -- Tweedy steers Wilco toward an even thornier path on Ghost, one lined with fragments of art-rock discord and comforting bits of melancholy.

Closer to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's disjointed aesthetic spirit than to the melodic Americana outfit Wilco started out to be, Ghost is the band's distressed reaction to the past four years (which yielded a very public battle over the release of Foxtrot and the departure of several key members). Songs such as "At Least That's What You Said," "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," and "Handshake Drugs" pack Tweedy's random lyrics ("Who will wear the crown of drowning award/Hold a private light/On a Michigan shore") into less fussy versions of Foxtrot's aural collages. This time, the challenges are in the artist's breaking psyche, not in the music.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.
Scroll to read more Music News articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.