A Ghost is Born is Wilco’s follow up to their most successful album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and after the departure of Jay Bennett. Frontman Jeff Tweedy was also dealing with addiction issues and would enter rehab before the album was released.
A shambles then? Yes and no.
At Least That’s What You Said opens the album and is genius, Tweedy sings along just with a piano playing but after two minutes the band explode in and the guitar solo takes us all over the place, listen and enjoy.
Spiders would have been a good but at ten minutes long its all over the place, as a three-minute song it would have been great, but it meanders too much for me.
Muzzle of Bees I find insubstantial, but Hummingbird is beautifully sung and played.
Handshake Drugs I would say is Wilco at their best, a great piano throughout the song with Tweedy’s quiet voice singing a beautiful song which goes all weird at the end for no other reason than they can.
I’m A Wheel rocks out great driving drums with a slashing guitar, not the greatest of choruses but enjoyable.
Then we come to Less Than You Think. The first four minutes is a strummed song with Tweedy singing softly over the guitar and then ten minutes of electronic noise, it does nothing for me but maybe someone gets something out of it. Tweedy at the time was trying to express his migraine suffering through music, not for me Jeff.
The Last Greats end the album on a high.
So, a mish mash of an album going from the sublime, At Least That’s You Said to the unlistenable, Less Than You Think. A brave experiment of a record that has more hits than misses.
GIVE IT A STREAM: At Least That’s What You Said