I’m no Fly, and I’m no Flux, but the hey... I’m going to post about a song anyway.
I’m sure I shouldn’t be all about this song. I’m sure I should be all about harshly processed field recordings of bugged-eyed men fucking strangers in the ass. I made my parents pick up a copy of The Wire iss. with Wilco on the front when they got off the island because I really wanted... their Primer on Noise.
Am I not letting the side down by not writing essays on 10 min ‘Spiders (Kidsmoke)’ about all the ways it’s a heart breaking beauty? Should I list every way the15 minutes of ‘Less Than You Think’ whispering gently to itself thru the nite refers to everything in modern music ever? Should I tackle the album as a whole, about how Wilco are deconstructing the song form, going weird, breaking out of their alt.Country hell of conventionality and fan-pleasing ways? I'm writting about 'Hummingbird' because it got me. It's not getting a real essay, because the below, the vague approximations of how it got me vs. what every one says about the band, because it's a sign of how much better it is then everything else. Essays suck and are the result of boring things.
Apparently, when you fuck modern music in the ass, when you pull apart Song and challenge our puny human notions and conventionality, when you deconstruct the modern world, while retaining verse and chorus, you get, um... The Beatles, actually.
I like ‘Hummingbird’ because it sounds just like A Beatles Song (not a Beatles song, but any Beatles song). I don’t really know why. It’s just nice. It’s got, for want of a better time, a ‘percussive’ piano, only not in a wanky, prepared way, but in a way that makes the drums pointless. It’s got a nice viola going on, and some lyrics that are pleasantly heart-breaking (‘remember to remember me / standing still in your past / floating fast like a hummingbird’), and, apparently, kazoos are what pass for avant garde mindfuck additions to any Song, because that’s about the oddest thing here. There’s an element of Scharpling and Wurstur’s Best Show Music Scholar sketch to the Wire’s championing of this Odd Pop group; certainly the Walkmen make far more obscured songs, which sound like top 10 smashes getting lost on their way to the chart, and having to find their way out of big caves with flashlights and there are, like, millions of keyboardslikeguitars genre-whacking groups out there, but who’d begrudge Wilco anything? Wilco are nice.
Would you like to tap your feet and hum? I would. Tap you feet to the piano and hum the viola over here. It isn’t going to save you, kill your timid notions, or hit you. It might want a hug. We all want a hug. Why don’t you and Wilco want a hug together?