Back in June, I wrote about their upcoming eighth studio album, The Whole Love, and the first song I’d heard from the record.
Now, with The Whole Love due out in a few weeks, on Sept. 27th, it’s not surprising to see a flurry of press, and I’ve gathered three items here.
The NPR Treatment
NPR’s music guru, Bob Boilen, obviously lucky enough to have received an advanced copy of the record, has some nice words to say about it; an announcement that there will be a listening party at noon ET on Sept. 19th, when the whole album will be streamed and members of the band will be in the studio to take questions; after that the album will be available for streaming for a whole week as part of their First Listen series; and he’s posted the brand new video for the song, Born Alone, which I include here:
The Making Of Born Alone
Next, over at The Atlantic, Alex Hoyt has posted Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s description of writing and recording the same song, Born Alone, which I absolutely love, in the same music geek way that I loved the interview with Phish’s Trey Anastasio that I wrote about Tuesday, full of yummy details about the creative process, like this:
When I took the song into the studio I really had the lyrics nailed down. One of the first things we did was sit down and learn the song on acoustic guitars and then came up with an arrangement that included a bridge that wasn’t there originally that’s a variation of the main melodic theme. I thought this lyric at the end—”born alone, born to die alone”—sounded like one of the most dire things that you can sing, but also defiant. I had strong feelings singing that lyric and wanted it illustrated in some defiant, triumphant way. So I came up with the idea that we would end the song with a Shepard tone, which is a series of chords that when repeated continuously sounds like its descending or ascending. It’s kind of a musical trick—it sounds like it’s endlessly going deeper and deeper into the abyss.
Yeah, Shepard tone. Don’t really understand it, but…LOVE IT!!!
Jeff Tweedy covers Black Eyed Peas?!
Finally, Pitchfork posted a video shot at a release party for some journalist’s book, based on the author’s experience having run a fake Rahm Emanuel Twitter account. One of the fake Tweets asked Jeff Tweety to perform a Black Eyed Peas cover song at an Emanuel campaign fundraiser, and so Tweety capitulated, but at the release party instead.
Anyway, I found this very entertaining in an unexpected way.
While it would be easy to conclude from watching this that Tweedy and the audience, through their laughter, don’t think very highly of Black Eyed Peas, watching Jeff I got a very different impression. I could be wrong about this, but I actually think he does a nice version of the song, that he even likes the song and sincerely wants to sing and play it well, he apologizes before he starts that it might sound bad, and even the banter he intersperses about all the elements that he obviously can’t pull off by himself, alone, with an acoustic guitar, seem intended to make up for the shortcomings of his performance and the limitations of doing it solo.
Anyway, you be the judge, and, if you’re into that kinda thing, check out the original by Black Eyed Peas: