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"A Ghost Is Born"  Wilco  Release date: 2004  Label: Nonesuch

Faced with the impossible task of following up the critical sensation of the 21st century (2002's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), Wilco have made a record that's guaranteed to polarize listeners. Jeff Tweedy's vocals, by far the most potent weapon in the band's arsenal, are often buried deep in layers of feedback and noise. Two tracks top the ten minute mark, and while one of them works ("Spiders"), the other does not. I don't care how big of a Wilco fan you are, you WILL skip the 12 minute long high-pitched droning at the end of "Less Than You Think." I have read that this is meant to simulate the sound in Tweedy's head as he suffers one of his crippling migraine headaches, and while I sympathize, it doesn't make me want to listen to this record from cover to cover. Still, "A Ghost is Born" contains some beautiful Wilco moments, from the awesome power chord progression in middle of the epic "Spiders" to the great straight ahead rocker "I'm A Wheel" to the refreshing beauty and simplicity of "Theologians." Much like other Wilco records, repeated listens are rewarded with some amazing, haunting melodies, and songs that at first baffle will over time ingrain themselves in your head. "A Ghost Is Born" is a challenging, maddening, and ultimately worthwhile experience for anyone who appreciates a band willing to fight to the end against the prospect of stagnation and irrelevance. Keep 'em coming, boys. -Dave Mix, Aug.04.04.

Wilco [A Ghost Is Born] 2004 A Ghost Is Born

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