Saturday, December 10, 2005

Wilco "A Shot in the Arm"

So here it is, dark outside, and my dog is spread out across the sofa. The only other contents of my living room right now are my dog's crate, my suitcase and skateboard, a bike helmet, some laptop chargers, and a bottle of water. I still haven't recovered from last week's burst pipes that flooded most of my apartment, so everything that I own is still stacked in the kitchen or my bathroom. Wilco's Summerteeth is playing on my ibook. I haven't listened to this album in months, although it's always been one my favorite albums by any artist. A Shot in the Arm is one of the standout songs on it, and the lyrics seem to fit my empty living room. Yeah, on a literal level, I really need a shot in the arm to unstack my furniture from in front of my stove and my sink. The adrenaline was flowing when I stacked them up and pulled all my stuff out of my flooding closets. But the carpet is dry now, and so I keep finding other things that need my attention more. Like this song. That's not it, though. The static it descends into at the end is pure Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, it grates, and I don't feel like it suits this song very well. Not enough to ruin the rest of the song, though. The pop- and I mean this as a good thing, well done pop music is wonderful- is beautiful. The way they grab a melody and toss it out, Tweedy's voice trailing behind the guitars. The opening keyboards, setting up the beat, and his voice following it along into the story he's telling.

Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again) always troubles me- it feels, through the verses, like any of the songs on this album. And the chorus, while nice, never takes off to the level of Shot in the Arm, it just... muddles. It's echoing off my empty rug, flat. I'm Always In Love is better, perfect interplay of voice and notes, and this one has both a quicker beat and someplace to ride it to. My dog is stretching, lazy, splaying his toes and pushing his nose further under the back cushion of the sofa. We're both quiet, maybe he hears the same lush harmony in the end that I do. Maybe he doesn't, and it sounds like driving to play frisbee to him instead. I listened to this album this summer, and the end reminds me of the sunlight at the park at 8:30 PM. When it got low enough, I'd take off my sunglasses, and play the end of our games without them, seeing the light shift. To the west of the field was a thick stand of really tall trees, so there would be at least an hour where the sun almost disappeared behind them, but didn't quite set. It was good frisbee light, because you could see the disc better without the glare. After the games, I'd sit on the sideline and unleash my dog, take off my cleats, and let him curl up in my lap. So I don't know why "I'm always alone" reminds me of sitting barefoot in the grass with him, but I'm almost there.

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