At a point where a good many of his peers have shifted into coasting mode, Jeff Tweedy continues to tinker under Wilco's hood, grafting on and sawing off seemingly entrenched elements with surprising ease. And while the changes manifested on A Ghost Is Born are more evolutionary than revolutionary, the fact that Tweedy continues to see his band as a work in progress makes for plenty of welcome surprises. A Ghost Is Born has a few things in common with its critically acclaimed predecessor, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, chiefly the willingness to ignore the strictures of standard arrangement (not to mention the clock on the wall). Those two elements dovetail beautifully in the ten-minute "Spiders (Kidsmoke)," on which Tweedy splices a snaky Television-styled guitar figure onto an insistent Kraut-rock rhythm to great effect. There's an overall uptick in instrumental freakouts, both extended and compact: After a short, simple intro, the 15-minute "Less than You Think" segues into a static lullaby that owes as much to Terry Riley as Tweedy's embryonic work did to the Carter Family, while the initially lulling "At Least That's What You Said" culminates in a fusillade of ragged melodic shards that screams "duck and cover." That aggression is offset by a lingering delicacy, one that lends an appropriately wraithlike tone to songs like the fine-spun "Muzzle of Bees" and the deceptively jaunty "Hummingbird," which kicks off with some sweet keyboard/strings interplay that could pass for the theme from some hazily remembered '70s TV series. A Ghost Is Born may not be the perfect summer soundtrack, but it's laced with sonic ideas that will last long after those tan lines fade into memory.
Performance CreditsWilco Primary Artist
Jim O'Rourke Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,ARP,Loops,Arp 2600
John Stirratt Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Loops
Jeff Tweedy Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar,Loops,Acoustic Bass,Guitar (Baritone)
Leroy Bach Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vibes,Loops
Glenn Kotche Synthesizer,Percussion,Drums,Hammered Dulcimer,Loops
Mike Jorgensen Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,farfisa organ,Rocksichord,Stylophone
Tim Barnes Percussion
Frankie Montuoro Hammered Dulcimer
Karen Waltuch Viola
Technical CreditsJim O'Rourke Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Christopher Shaw Engineer
John Stirratt Composer
Jeff Tweedy Composer
Wilco Producer,Audio Production
Leroy Bach Composer
Glenn Kotche Composer
Mike Jorgensen Composer,Engineer
Gladys Nilsson Drawing
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Ghost Is Born based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
This album is just as good as YHF, but more complete as an album. The great songs may not be as great, but song 3 (Spiders) is a masterpiece of a song. The guitars scream, and the synthesizers drop some catchy beats. Highly recommended.
this album has totally changed my view of how todays music should sound. the first time i heard the cd, i thought, this is good, but not quite YHF. then i heard it a couple more times, and before i knew it, i couldn't stop playing it. just as in their earlier work, tweedy mixes neil young-esque solo guitar with simple melodies that just come together into a masterpiece. the piano and percussion come in and top it right off. the cd still has its happy tunes like YHF's "camera" and "heavy metal drummer," in new tunes like "handshake drugs", "Late Greats" "theologians" and "hummingbird", as well as heartfelt balads like "I am trying to break your heart" and "radio cure" in the new tunes "at least thats what you said" and "wishful thinking", along with some fantastic purely wilco songs like the ten minute-plus "spiders" and catchy "company in my back". i think overall this is one of the most original albums i have ever listened to, and it will go down as one the most underrated pieces of art of this generation.
I have only listened to the album a few times so far and can already see its another great Wilco album. Of course different in its own ways from the previous. There are definitely some songs that just jump out the first time I listened. Hummingbird (which they played and sounded great on Letterman), Spiders, and Handshake Drugs. This is an preliminary review but I can tell already after a few more entire plays of the album, it will be obvious from all the songs that they have done it again....that thing that Wilco can do when they make music. Its musical genius at its most extraordinary. Definitely one to add to the collection. Even if you are not a big fan, give it a chance. It's a must have!
AGIB sees Wilco moving away from their electronic explorations on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to some more straightforward guitar work; Songs like At Least That's What You Said echo Neil Young, while others are very Beatlesque. This is another strong record, I highly recommend!