Wilco - The Whole Love

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The "and we'll do it again" is what people on the dance floor feel at that point in the song when the song repeats itself.

Why "I Gotta Feeling" works so well:
1. The intro gives people enough time to recognize the song and get on the dance floor. And yet the drumbeat doesn't kick in for a while, so if it takes 30 seconds to set down your drink and grab someone and run to the dance floor, you get there without having missed anything.

2. The aspiration of the song is not to have "the time of my life" but the instinct that tonight is going to be a "good night" -- something within reach. [n.b. Why this is the quintessential dorm-room primping song.]

3. The lyrics are almost Springsteen-like in the aim to reach transcendence through just going out and spending a little money at a club.

4. Unlike Celebration, the song has lead vocals for both a man and a woman.

5. The song works like a suspension bridge--it's basically the same song repeated twice, which--as you may have already seen first-hand at a wedding reception or 40th birthday party, as I have--leaves the dancers actually exhausted in a post-coital way.

6. The days of the week make it a hit with the under-six set.

7. What bugs me about the Tweedy cover is that he takes a shit on the song but he doesn't perform it as composed -- as if all the repetition is lazy songwriting rather than carefully executed dance music to give the dancer enough time to get to the dance floor and then have peaks and valleys for the next four minutes.

8. The song works because it takes the impossible expectations of holy occasions--weddings, bar mitzvahs--and makes the dancers feel that they actually are achieving the transcendence that the event is supposed to give them. It gives the dancer at the special occasion the feeling that in fact transcendence is attainable, that tonight is going to be a good night after all, and that, finally, that is enough. It doesn't have to be a transcendental wedding--it becomes one through simply being good. A good night.

9. You know that scene in Miami Vice where Jamie Foxx is fucking his lover/co-worker and he pretends to orgasm but then he makes it clear he was pretending and goes at it double-time? That's what happens in this song, after the breather in the middle: and thus it aspires to surprise and then fully satisfy and exhaust those who choose to dance to it.

10. it communicates exactly what it means, and yet it makes no rational sense; and while it is “wrong” in the everyday world, the three worlds of this title simply cannot be reduced even to nouns, verbs, and prepositions. Gramatically, the Black Eyed Peas have created an impossible compound. It is only what it is. A prime number. In other words, a spell. L'Chaim.

per metal injection (Eazy), Sunday, 2 October 2011 04:35 (six years ago) Permalink

This thread is giving me great joy all of a sudden. I can't wait to see clemenza deploy this argument -- "I mean, I'm hardly the only person to think so--it was #1 for 14 consecutive weeks" in defense of some shitty, shitty movies.

Also, Stormy OTM about the last two records.

Age ain't nothin' but a Tumblr (Phil D.), Sunday, 2 October 2011 12:21 (six years ago) Permalink

I merely brought up the #1 business because of aerosmith's "you really honestly think that?", like I was trying to pull something over him by defending some song that nobody else in the world loved. Pretty sure I never resort to a populist argument to defend the work itself, i.e. millions like it = therefore it's good. My point was that millions like it = why do you seem so surprised that I might like it too?

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2011 12:44 (six years ago) Permalink

Poor Wilco. That's what you get for making fun of "I Gotta Feeling," Jeff Tweedy--your thread gets hijacked.

(By the way, I love Eazy's lengthy defense of the song, especially "The days of the week make it a hit with the under-six set"--just like the Jackson 5's "ABC." I hope I'm not being reeled in by an ingenious parody...)

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2011 12:49 (six years ago) Permalink

I will say, as a parent of two kids (like Jeff Tweedy!) I've found that small children are overwhelmingly drawn to music that is simplistic and repetitive, and that the better they can understand the lyrics, the more they like it. Hence, little kids (in my experience) don't like rap, terribly, or metal or stuff that's hard to follow. But they do like modern country and piffle like BEP, which is the pop equivalent to a t-ball stand. No one strikes out.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 October 2011 13:31 (six years ago) Permalink

Chuck Eddy would do a better job of taking up this argument than I can, but I'd take issue with the idea that "I Gotta Feeling" is simplistic. I understand your basic point, though. (No kids of my own, but I spend six hours a day with 25 of them.)

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2011 13:36 (six years ago) Permalink

when I worked with kids I was a lot more sympathetic to songs like this because I could see them enjoying them, and what's more infectious than that. I do recall with pleasure though a discussion of Pink's "Get This Party Started" that involved exploration of the imperative mood & whether the consequent on not getting the party started was the threat of physical violence toward the listener/addressee

pathos of the unwarranted encore (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:09 (six years ago) Permalink

clemenza I got love for IGAF but comparing it to ABC is SB-territory

dayo, Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:11 (six years ago) Permalink

(Not a parody--I've just spent some time under the hood with IGAF, figuring out how that engine hums!)

per metal injection (Eazy), Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:24 (six years ago) Permalink

(And apologies for the big hijack. I streamed The Whole Love on NPR earlier this week. I liked not knowing when one track ended and the next began.)

per metal injection (Eazy), Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:28 (six years ago) Permalink

Haha, fair enough, clemenza - I misread you and thought you were resorting to "if millions of ppl like it it must be good." Didn't seem like your kind of argument.

Honestly, though, it's a terrible terrible song. Putting it in a category with "Wedding Bell Blues" is definitely smdh territory.

Age ain't nothin' but a Tumblr (Phil D.), Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:29 (six years ago) Permalink

Good--I'm sometimes not sure when I'm on ILM. I'm an aging homebody with three left feet, so I really like your stuff about dancing.

I love "I Gotta Feeling" more than "ABC," more even than "I Want You Back." True story. (But not more than "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" or "Wedding Bell Blues.")

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:30 (six years ago) Permalink

last night when i got IGF stuck in my head because of this thread i remembered fergie's "i know we'll have a ball" section and was like oh damn this song totally has more than one hook, it's so well constructed, fuck what those guys were saying

some dude, Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:31 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm totally sympathetic, per aero's example, to what kids like and why they like it. But as with food, I find the quality of what they like, generally speaking, directly disproportional to how much they like it. For example, the shittier the microwave pizza, the more the kids like it, no doubt due to all the extra fat, salt and stuff, and lack of complexity. Labor for a couple of days on an awesome dough, homemade sauce and fresh seasonings/toppings, and you'll have a barely touched dinner. I've exposed my kids to all manner of music, from "Music for Airports" through Iron Maiden, but I know what's made the biggest impression on my older one is the mix my friend made for her aerobics workout, which she used to play in the car driving my daughter back from gymnastics.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:36 (six years ago) Permalink

For example, the shittier the microwave pizza, the more the kids like it, no doubt due to all the extra fat, salt and stuff, and lack of complexity.

"I Gotta Feeling" is the equivalent of a homemade pizza then, with all the strange, wonderful things you'd add.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:38 (six years ago) Permalink

Josh: I hope you can appreciate that the idea that Iron Maiden is more complex than "I Gotta Feeling" is as baffling to someone like me as the appeal of "I Gotta Feeling" is to you. The older I get, the more I realize that arguing taste is a dead end.

clemenza, Sunday, 2 October 2011 14:43 (six years ago) Permalink

Not arguing tastes, as such. Just noting how my own personal tastes are not aligned with that of many six-year olds I've met.

Not saying Iron Maiden or "Music for Airports" are better than BEP in this case. Just that there's too much abstract stuff going on for little brains to grasp. Not complex as a complement, just literally less repetition, more parts. Sometimes to their detriment. Kids can't process that shit. Again, that's not a diss. It just seems to be true from my perspective.

By the way, you guys ever heard "Bananaphone?" It's a jam.

And come on, "I Gotta Feeling," like it or not, is totally microwave pizza. Sometimes microwave pizza hits the spot. Especially if you're little and don't like food of different colors touching one another.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 October 2011 15:24 (six years ago) Permalink


Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 2 October 2011 15:24 (six years ago) Permalink

one sunday morning is really lovely

(♯`∧´) (gbx), Sunday, 2 October 2011 21:09 (six years ago) Permalink

also standing o sounds vaguely like a supergrass song??

(♯`∧´) (gbx), Sunday, 2 October 2011 21:47 (six years ago) Permalink

This album is bookended by two of their best ever songs imo. So much so that so far it's hard to get past them and listen properly to the rest.

Science, you guys. Science. (DL), Sunday, 2 October 2011 23:04 (six years ago) Permalink

Funny that they recently covered Nick Lowe, because some of the poppier stuff in the middle reminded me a bit of him. But the skronky guitar reminds me a lot of the Pixies.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 3 October 2011 01:27 (six years ago) Permalink

I finished listening to this for the first time (I'm not a big Wilco fan but I like a few of their songs)

I'm going to say Dud - I could barely keep my ears open. But I can easily picture a bunch of Kaputt fans loving this

ℓ٥ﻻ ﻉ√٥υ (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 20:07 (six years ago) Permalink

hmm, how is kaputt similar to this?

tylerw, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 20:09 (six years ago) Permalink

musical scale/note selection. less than inspiring vocals. soft rock opus type stuff

ℓ٥ﻻ ﻉ√٥υ (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 20:14 (six years ago) Permalink


If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 21:11 (six years ago) Permalink

first track and last track are cool, don't know about much in between.


jaymc, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 21:39 (six years ago) Permalink

I wonder how anyone can call this soft rock. The guitar playing is more scuzzed and abrasive than the band has been in years, and while the rhythm section is similarly more slick, I don't see how anyone can listen to Kotche/Stirratt and not be impressed.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 21:44 (six years ago) Permalink

I noticed some very talented playing but nothing grooved with me. "Soft rock" wasn't meant to be a bad thing. Some tracks weren't soft rock in a traditional sense but they still made me sleepy.

ℓ٥ﻻ ﻉ√٥υ (CaptainLorax), Wednesday, 5 October 2011 22:46 (six years ago) Permalink

last track is quite good, but also too repetitive.

nostormo, Wednesday, 5 October 2011 22:50 (six years ago) Permalink

just listened to this for the first time. i really liked it, seemed much better than their last album. i love Sky Blue Sky so it has a ways to go to be better than that for me.

Bee OK, Thursday, 6 October 2011 00:09 (six years ago) Permalink

The autopilot of W(TA) really lowered the bar to ankle level, so new one's a huge relief.

Peas, Ants, Pigs & Astronauts (PaulTMA), Friday, 7 October 2011 13:19 (six years ago) Permalink

Saw them in Nashville for work. Very different sets each night, but Art of Almost and One Sunday Morning both nights, both sounding great. And I'm not really a big guitar solo guy but Nels Cline's solo during Impossible Germany was ridiculous. This line-up is so tight now.

Science, you guys. Science. (DL), Friday, 7 October 2011 13:26 (six years ago) Permalink

Heard "I Might" on the radio yesterday--excellent. The backing track has such an unusual '60s feel.

clemenza, Friday, 7 October 2011 19:57 (six years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Finally bought this today after much dithering - really adore the opening track, predictably, but wish the stuff in the middle, as elegant and well played and composed as it is, was a bit more akin to it. The songwriting of the middl stretch is growing on me, though.

Sick Mouthy (Scik Mouthy), Monday, 31 October 2011 17:20 (six years ago) Permalink


Jeff Tweedy retired today!

Euler, Tuesday, 1 November 2011 04:47 (six years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

and i know that i won't be the last, cold captain tied to the mast

markers, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 00:39 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Saw most of the minor league park set last night. I suspect I'm in the minority, but I really wish Nels would just sit a couple of songs out. Or that someone would tell him that it's OK no to constantly noodle-noodle over everything.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 9 July 2012 16:06 (five years ago) Permalink

Haven't seen them recently, but I think I'm pretty much ready to vehemently disagree with you there.

How was that for a venue? It seemed like a fun show idea.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 9 July 2012 16:21 (five years ago) Permalink

It was OK. Ticket window seemed a bit overwhelmed, and traffic was predictably slow getting in, but the vibe was nice even if the band's bro contingent was in beyond full effect. Posters sucked, surprisingly.

I just don't like Nels in this context. Don't like his tone, don't like his solos, don't like "Impossible Germany" ...

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 9 July 2012 16:24 (five years ago) Permalink

Yes they can, decent idea with horrible execution. Heh, I love "Impossible Germany" and his tone.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 9 July 2012 16:27 (five years ago) Permalink

does tweedy play much lead these days? i kinda dug it when he started stretching out on guitar in the pre-Nels days.

tylerw, Monday, 9 July 2012 16:28 (five years ago) Permalink

I just don't like Nels in this context. Don't like his tone, don't like his solos, don't like "Impossible Germany" ...

lol that's prob my favorite Wilco song

Never translate Dutch (jaymc), Monday, 9 July 2012 16:32 (five years ago) Permalink

It might be my favorite Wilco song ... title.

Not a lot of Jeff skronk, though I dig it when he does.

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 9 July 2012 16:47 (five years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

this album is really good, which is surprising as ive never really liked any of their post-YHF stuff which i found boring and meandering. this is the wilco sound i missed listening to.

Old Boy In Network (Michael B), Saturday, 16 March 2013 12:36 (four years ago) Permalink

It's because they started doing power pop again. They were good at that. Wish they would do more of it

'Separate Lives', by Phil Collins & Marilyn Manson (PaulTMA), Saturday, 16 March 2013 13:16 (four years ago) Permalink

I wish they will do more of One Sunday Morning.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 16 March 2013 16:15 (four years ago) Permalink


c'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas le beurre (imago), Saturday, 16 March 2013 16:22 (four years ago) Permalink

i wish Jim O'rourke will rejoin them

nostormo, Saturday, 16 March 2013 16:32 (four years ago) Permalink

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