Wilco: Let Me Come Home (Instrumental version)

lon_rainy_streetHeavenly. As peaceful and lovely as a Saturday morning thunder shower in the spring time, this little gem is nestled into the YHF demos’ second half snuggly between “Heavy Metal Drummer” and the instrumental version of “Cordoruoy Cutoff Girl” (which later got transmogrified somehow into “Radio Cure”). While there may not be a whole lot to it, the simple  marriage of piano and cello results in something sublime. It would probably be best to categorize it as a lullabye, but you won’t want to fall asleep as you listen. Rather, it has a tendancy to induce nostalgic visions as it washes peacefully over you.

Some (many?) will call this forgettable incidental music. But for me, it’s the sort of thing I’m hoping will be playing in my mind as I fall asleep for the last time, ushering me peacefully into eternity. At two minutes and thirty seconds, the only bad thing I can find to say about it is that it is far too short. I’ve been known to put this one on repeat and just meditate for awhile, I dig it that much.

One last thing: the instrumental version is far preferable to the “vocalized” demo available elsewhere, and supposedly released on some compilation or another. I’ll just leave it at that.

“Let Me Come Home” is a forgotten little classic in Wilco’s back pocket. You’d do well to seek it out.

Wilco’s cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen”

9122-big-star-small-worldChoosing to cover an already gorgeous song, especially one as gorgeous as Big Star’s “Thirteen,” may seem like a safe move at first. Taking another point of view, however, there’s a huge potential to “ruin it” for everyone else. Witness: American Idol seasons 1 thru 8. If pressed, I could probably rattle off at least five other cover versions of classic tunes that almost destroy the greatness of the original.

The good news is that Wilco gets it so right that they almost record the definitive version of the song here. Wilco, after all, was bred for songs such as these, sung in the key of midwest kid. While the arrangement does sound a bit like that of BEING THERE’s “The Lonely One,” the joyfully mournful slide guitars are simply perfect. In addition, Wilco slows it down a bit, lending the song a dream-like atmosphere that puts the emphasis in all the right places. I tend to see my own youth in idealized slow motion when I listen to this song.

While I won’t go so far as to say that this cut upstages Big Star’s original, I will say that it does a great job of remaining faithful to the vision of the songwriter, introducing the track to potential new fans, AND bringing a slightly different perspective to the song. When all is said and done, I think that’s what a good cover song should do.