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Wilco’s “Impossible Germany”

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: .

Listening to music, just having it there simply as a supporting cast member in the scenes of your life is something entirely enjoyable and fulfilling all unto itself. Yet many times in life it unknowingly attaches itself to bits and pieces of your life, but until now I’ve had no Wilcostories. Today my Wilco story arrived, and as a matter of fact it’s still settling in. Wilco, as a group, is one that the people who write the sites I read love (cough, cough), the people I respect love, yet a band I have never really paid any time to. Something has changed.

I’m finding it hard to get older, not old necessarily, just older. I want nothing more in life right now than to find one thing that makes sense and ride it until exhaustion, but I think in many ways every party of my life is already exhausted. I tried something today that wasn’t tired though, I tried listening to Wilco’s new album and something inside of me changed in the process. I’m not thee Wilco fan many of my friends are, nor would I necessarily feel confident attending a show, but right now the band makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan
Wherever you go
Wherever you land
I’ll say what this means to me
I’ll do what I can
Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan
Fundamental problem
All need to face
This is important
But I know you’re not listening
No I know you’re not listening

This was still new to me
I wouldn’t understand
Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan
This is what love is for
To be out of place
Gorgeous and alone
Face to face
With no larger problems
That need to be erased
Nothing more important
Than to know someone’s listening
Now I know you’ll be listening

What’s hilarious to me (though hilarious really isn’t what I mean with that word) is that this Wilco isn’t the Wilco that historical fans of the band love. Yes they are! No…the physical make up isn’t Wilco by the definition that most would give. I would hate for my favorite band to have two remaining original members; not in the sense that I wouldn’t still love whatever music came as a result of their creation, but that it’s just not entirely complete. That being said, and despite recently having watched I Am Trying To Break My Heart, this band is Wilco to me and will probably be Wilco to me for some time to come.

I cannot speak with full confidence when I make this suggestion as I know a sparse record of the band’s musical history, but I’ve always been fairly certain that Wilco wasn’t a jam band (they aren’t, are they?). Last year I gave up my overwhelming distaste for festival bands (not all of them are jam) that have come to represent what the hippy of yesteryear once did (with less emphasis on revolution and more emphasis on hacky sack). If one had to describe Wilco by “Impossible Germany” alone, having just months ago developed a keen appreciation for My Morning Jacket, one might attempt to label them as jam; after all half of the song is strictly low-key meandering. And I heard that meandering, the slow wavy duality, while the song was playing in the background and all at once I understood why people had but their good faith in the band for so many years.

Then I heard the lyrics.

“This is what love is for, to be out of place. Gorgeous and alone, face to face.” In one single swipe Jeff Tweedy answered what I now know to be far from a rhetorical statement as he broke my heart. This is by far one of the most timely lyrics that has ever had confront me, yet at the same time a large part of me began listening to the album in search for exactly what I found. I have been in love so many times that it no longer pays to keep track.

Many times I see and talk to someone (female) and I look to their traits for both friendship or something far greater, and from time to time my mind justifies fantasizing a future, or at least spending a sound period of my life with them. The problem is I can’t keep those relationships because they’re not real. The thoughts in my head aren’t about real people, but rather about someone I want those people to be. Typically I find someone, go through the same set of motions, only to find that they care about me very little, and honestly my feelings aren’t far off theirs (read: I’m confused). Something is different in my life now and I’m probably experiencing what love is – that feeling of being out of place and not knowing what in the world I’m doing. Not knowing whether there is a future or whether I should be thinking about it, but knowing rather that this is an experience all unto itself. There are no motions. Putting it all out there and meaning it. And knowing you mean it, and being frightened because there is honestly something on the line if you say too much or too little. I have a feeling that I’m going to ride this till exhaustion.
So that’s why Wilco’s so damn popular, right?