Wilco: Summerteeth (1999)


JUNE 2009 IS WILCO MONTH AT SWEET GEORGIA BREEZES. WE’LL BE COVERING THE BAND’S RECORDED OUTPUT AND HITTING ON SOME OTHER THINGS ABOUTTHIS GREAT AMERICAN BAND.

summerteeth

Wilco
Summerteeth
1999; Reprise Records

My Rating: 9/10

SUMMERTEETH was the WILCO album I knew before I knew WILCO. It’s hard for SUMMERTEETH not to at least register in some way in your consciousness when you catch a glimpse of the record’s cover. It’s just one of the stangest images you’ve ever seen, and is the best of Wilco’s generally pretty great album covers yet. Not to mention that title – just what the heck are SUMMERTEETH? I’ve heard explanations, but I’ve never quite figured out the significance of the title here. Nevertheless, SUMMERTEETH is the record where Wilco began to venture out of the confines of alt-country. Whereas on BEING THERE they looked for influences from the outside to drag into the alt-country equation, on SUMMERTEETH you get the sense that they are completely trying to break the mold and expand into other forms of American music.

PHIL SPECTOR’s Wall of Sound dynamics seem to be a strong influence on tracks like “A Shot in the Arm” and “I’m Always In Love”, and there’s plenty of nods to the Beach Boys and Big Star. But it’s on darker, more unconventional tracks like “She’s A Jar” and “Via Chicago” that the band starts to find its own way ahead, hinting at the unorthodox song structures and circular lyricism employed on YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT. “How To Fight Loneliness”, “When You Wake Up Feeling Old”, and the title track are also very worthy additions to the Wilco canon, and the album rounds off nicely with “In A Future Age.”

THE FINAL ANALYSIS: SUMMERTEETH is right up there with the best of Wilco’s work, but coming between the mountains of BEING THERE and YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT in the band’s catalog robs it of a little glory. Still, it’s a must have for any Wilco fan.

What’s your opinion of SUMMERTEETH?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: