brilliant covers by wilco #1

It is a scientifically proven fact that Wilco are the most extraordinaire being of the 90’s and the 00’s. That can’t really be disputed, can it? Now that Jeff Tweedy has firmly established himself as the truly talented one in Uncle Tupelo – though Son Volt’s “Trace” still sounds pretty tight – we can comfortably wallow in the musical pleasure encapsuled in albums like “Summerteeth”, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” & “A ghost is born”.

But we won’t. At least not now. Because not only Wilco has produced some of the finest ear-candy of the last 15 years or so, but they also have stunned the world with some utterly brilliant covers. And, hey, doing a proper cover version is just as tricky as putting together an original track. There’s many options – just rehash de original track, go down an entirely different route, ditch the original melody and keep the lyrics, and so on – and none of them are sure-fire solutions. The outcome must suit simultaneously the band and the song; it should build on the strength of both. And, boy, do Wilco know how to pull it off or what, eh?

Evidence #1: Wilco’s cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True love will find you in the end”, a b-side to the “A shot in the arm” single. It doesn’t get any better than this. The steady drumbeat, the subtle harmonica, Tweedy’s dreamy voice, the understated piano. This is poignancy at its most majestic. This song will never get any better than this: Wilco’s version surpasses both the original recording and Beck’s crappy rendition (which is somewhat similar to Wilco’s cover, only worse: Beck’s voice is too rough, he ruins the melody and the overall mood). One particular strength that puts Wilco ahead of Daniel Johnston and Beck is that Tweedy and his boys found out exactly how long this song should last. Wilco’s cover clocks at a comfortable 3:51, letting the melody flow freely. Lo-fi wonderboy Daniel Johnston, on the other hand, only gave the song a mere 1:45, which halts the song development just when it was getting pretty good.

Download away: Wilco – True love will find you in the end.

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