Too Much?

Are the critics heaping too much praise on Wilco?

That's Kevin 's argument.
Wilco has gone from a small band with a cultish following to a heavily hyped, critically loved behemoth. And rock critics are heaping praise -- a little more than is warranted -- on the band's latest album, A Ghost Is Born. They laud its mix of understatement and obstinacy, even while couching those accolades with qualifiers. Rolling Stone makes unsurprising comparisons to canonical figures such as Neil Young and the Band; it also calls Ghost "eerie." Spin labels it both "engagingly complex" and "willfully obscure"; The New York Times declares it "stunning" and "an evasive maneuver, intended to frustrate listeners."

...The media latched onto the story, and who could blame them? The David-and-Goliath angle made for great drama -- especially when, upon its release in 2002, Foxtrot became the band's most commercially successful album to date.

But the story didn't stop there. A phalanx of critics eagerly named Foxtrot the year's best album. The record also spawned a small cottage industry, in the form of Jones' documentary and Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot's band biography Wilco: Learning How to Die. As a result, Wilco found that it had inadvertently traded one set of expectations for another. Instead of being pressured to churn out singles, it was now in an even more unenviable position. It had been anointed as a larger-than-life, quote-unquote "important" band, synonymous with artistic triumph and depth.
Not enough credit, imo. They're the greatest rock band on the road right now.


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