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  Listen Up! 6/16/04 Listen Up!

Wednesday, June 16

Wilco, “A Ghost Is Born,” Nonesuch Records. Interesting. While listening to the first song, “At Least That’s What You Said,” I was convinced this would be a major slide into mediocrity for whoever Jeff Tweedy is working with these days and calling it Wilco. But, then things started to happen. Repetitive rhythm tracks with flowing lead guitar lines. Intriguing dynamic changes. Smart juxtapositions. Tweedy has left behind his claims to pop beauty, mostly because of the departure of Jay Bennett, whose new album, by the way, is quite a lovely thing to hear. I was afraid this would lead to a more pretentious brand of art-rock, but while there are nods in that direction, there’s just too damn much emotional resonance. This is my first time through, and there are a lot of quiet parts I can’t hear well, but I’m gonna want to spend some more time with this record. Probably a lot more than I did with the last one. Magazine, “Real Life,” Caroline Records. I haven’t heard this album in years, and it holds up. Oh, yeah, I’ve listened to “Shot From Both Sides” now and again, one of the greatest singles to come out of the English New Wave scene back in the late 70s. But, I’d kind of forgotten the psuedo-soul lilt to “Definitive Gaze” or the sheer beauty of “The Light Pours Out of Me.” Not to mention, the brilliance of a lyric like, “Sometimes I forget I’m supposed to be in love/Sometimes I forget my position.” What a joy to revisit this classic from my youth. Bob Dylan, “Infidels,” Columbia Records. Another blast from the past, in its recently restored resmastered glory. Dylan’s best record from the 80s featured some truly great songs – “Jokerman,” “License to Kill,” “Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight” – and a killer band – Sly Dunbar on drums, Robbie Shakespeare on bass, Mick Taylor and Mark Knopfler on guitars, Alan Clark on keyboards. I realize I’m not exactly providing much beyond cheerleading here; that’s part of the reason I haven’t written a lot of these reviews lately. Too much going on around the office to keep my mind focused on thinking about music more deeply. But, heck, cheerleading is better than nothing, isn’t it? Go Dylan! --Steve Pick

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