"What do you say about one of our generation's most defining albums when no one has heard of it? The music, lyrics, and that undefinable edge of this album rank it as an all time classic, but few critics would rank this in their top picks. The reason is simple: Wilco's success has always been limited to intelligent discerning individuals looking for great music-not the next big thing. Wilco might never become Top-40 radio darlings, or their next album might propel them to popularity on par with the Beatles. Either way, they remain one of the best bands out there-no matter what genre of music you listen to.Summerteeth is a miasma of rock, pop, and country music swirled into an amazing tapestry of sound. The songs evoke hard and true feelings: bitter anguish and bubbling euphoria. Like all truly great albums by truly great bands, they defy description and they work together. Wilco doesn't use cheesy concepts or themes to tie their songs to one another, but this is one disc you have to listen to all the way through to appreciate. In the end, that greatness may be their commericial undoing. Although certain tracks would certainly work on pop radio, they're not as good by themselves. To hear one of Summerteeth's songs without hearing the rest of the album is like reading a single and random chapter of a great novel-it may be good reading while you're reading it, but you have to read the whole thing to appreciate its magnitude.Buy this album, and listen to it, and it alone, for a week. Then buy Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and A Ghost Is Born and consider yourself a Wilco fanatic. Trust me-it's worth it.PS: also check out Greg Kot's forthcoming (June 15th) book on the Wilco. Greg is the Chicago Tribune's lead rock critic and one of the most honest and earnest voices out there today. His reviews are right on and transcend criticism to bring you the true story and significance of the music."
Surprise! The Hoopla is Worth It.
Patrick F Clifford | 01/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Uncle Tupelo. Unlike so many people who have been drawn to Son Volt and Wilco through the emergence of "altenative radio", I have been listening to Uncle Tupelo for a long time and I have always hated Jeff Tweedy. Jay Ferrar was always the romantic, Neil Young inspired tunesmith (what a horrible word!). Through all of their records, I found myself ignoring all of Tweedy's harder-edged contributions to that incredible band. So when I picked up "Summer Teeth", I did so grudgingly (for want of anything else in the store at the time)and then felt like such a misdirected fool. This record is so dense, so immediate, so seemingly heartfelt and direct that I had to go back and re-evaluate all of my attitudes. This is an incredible pop album influenced by hard core country sentiment, rock & roll experimentation (which probably bummed me out so much about Jeff Tweedy's work in UT), and just great heart-felt songwriting. What incredible songwriting! The arrangements are intelligent and (should I sound stupid) overwhelmingly daring for a band birthed from American roots-rock. Jeeeze. The first couple of songs cruise though, then "A Shot in the Arm" hits. You can just feel this one. Then the perfect pop of "I'm Always in Love" (nice baritone guitar and Moog) and "Nothing's evergonnastandinmyway (again)". Then "Via Chicago" rolls through. Wow. This is an album for people who listen to their music, for people who want to feel something. Tweedy's voice just drips with emotion and loss and I buy it. The production is, again, dense and relevant. Moogs, guitar noise (a bad thing done so without intention), and strings all play together amazingly. I, for one, amhumbled by how well this record is crafted. And it is crafted: everything works, everything drives the songs forward. This is one of the best albums of the nineties and maybe (we'll see) one of the best of all time. I still love Son Volt and UT, but if Jeff Tweedy keeps throwing out stuff like this, I'll have to reevaluate the importance of those bands. Right now, with each Son Volt album mining the same roots rock seam, Wilco, with it's experimental bent is forging a future even this UT fan can't argue with."
Ok, you'll like summer teeth if...
Patrick F Clifford | 04/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc is so across the board, you truly can't really pin it down to a certain group of people's tastes. so i guess i'll try to pin it down.if you're a fan of the beatles/the beach boys/the kinks/the byrds/any good 1960s pop band: you'll like SUMMER TEETH's melodic, catchy, hook side, sort of experimental side. Familiar sounds might be 12 string electric on hook heavy "can't stand it" and the great pop of "nothingsevergonnastandinmyway(again)" and mellotron on the previous mentioned along with "she's a jar" and "my darling" (with beatles and beach boys influences clearly evident) and backward piano on "how to fight loneliness". also, note the timpani on "a shot in the arm".if you're a fan of elvis costello/devo/80's pop: you'll like SUMMER TEETH's use of angular song forms and synths on songs like "a shot in the arm", "im always in love" and "elt".if you're a fan of beck/radio/experimental 90's stuff: you'll like all the previously mentioned songs have the element of the computer's effect on music today. almost all the songs on here sound like they were ran through protools. which they probably were.if you're a fan of britney spears/nsync/shaggy: um...you NEED SUMMER TEETH :)all these "if you likes" sort of have a common denominator: they're all sort of an influence, by each other and together. well, not the last one. A HEADPHONE RECORD ALL OVER THE PLACE - A 90s "REVOLVER"."
Five stars is not enough to express my love for this record.
Patrick F Clifford | 03/14/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no two ways about it..this is simply the best record I've heard this decade...from the first chords of Can't Stand It to the last notes of A Shot In The Arm's second version, this is simply 60 minutes of the best music you'll come across this year. Wilco have traded their No Depression roots for Big Star-ish power pop, Beach Boys harmonies, Wall Of Sound production, Beatles inventiveness....and it's all for the better. In fact, this is the album Big Star fans could have been hoping for all along, if the band had stuck together for a few years. Jeff Tweedy's long time fans may not acknowledge this on the first listen, the possessiveness of alt-country fans coming a close second to folk-era Dylan fans, and the cries of "Judas!" may haunt this band for years. But music fans should learn to look further, open their ears and realize this may be as good as it gets... The instrumentation is very unusual, ranging from bells, mellotrons to E-bow guitars and Moogs, and only the slightest hint of a steel-guitar here and there. Each song contains enough surprises to come back to this record every day, meaning this album will very well stand repeated listening (I'm at 14 and counting since I bought it 3 days ago)... The shear amount of instruments and studio tricks used by the band also means you are likely to discovering new sounds every single time you press the play button...As for the songs themselves, this could be loosely described as a song cycle about failed relationship(s), with a measure of redemption coming in the end... From the opener Can't Stand It ("No loves as random as my love/I can't stand it...I can't stand it..."), up to Via Chicago, it seems to be all the way down for Jeff, despite the sheer joy of the music in the likely single Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway(again)...Via Chicago starts with some of the bleakest lyrics Jeff has ever written "I dreamed about killing you again last night/and it felt alright to me" (which were in fact allegedly written with his wife...) but then things slowly seem to turn around, until the first hidden track, Candyfloss, that is one of the purest pop songs you'll hear this year, even if radio airplay is unlikely. That songs climaxes with operatic voices in the background, which seems almost as clever as the "handclaps in the chorus" of the aforementionned Nothing'sever... Pieholden Suite, which may be the best song here, starts quietly but adds somthing at each verse, and concludes with a melancholic trumpet solo. The lyrics also show a stunning growth from Tweedy's days as co-leader of Uncle Tupelo, and if you do not shed a tear over at least one song here, your heart is made of stone...To put it mildly, chances are that listening to this record you'll cry, you'll laugh, you'll want to die but in the end, you'll want to fall in love all over again...and press that repeat button over and over and over....Do yourself a favor...pick this one up...5 five stars are not enough...a clear summer night's worth of stars would still be not enough...it's just THAT good...If, like me, you've simply fallen in love with this record...tell everyone you know about it...if anything deserves to become a hit, this is it..."
Still my favorite Wilco album
A.L.V. | from your friendly neighborhood 500 | 10/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even with the great 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' under their belt, Wilco are still seem to be one of the most under-appreciated bands around. You've got legions of Wilco fans that are separated into particular album groups, others are enjoying every album in its own right, and some fans aren't sure at all. Personally, I happen to be in the middle category, but I can still say that 'Summer Teeth' is my all-time favorite and has yet to be topped.
There is just something about this record that makes me feel good, despite the dismal lyrics on most of the songs. Maybe it's the fact that those lyrics are placed cleverly with upbeat melodies, but for me this record always evokes a place in time, like a fond childhood memory. But maybe that's just me.
I never get tired of this album; it's in constant rotation in my car, personal CD player, or blasting from my stereo at home. I fell for "I'm Always In Love" hook, line, and sinker from the beginning because it is definitely the stand-out track on the album, as far as unique sound goes. Then I heard "Via Chicago" and fell in love with Jeff Tweedy's lyrical prowess---he can sing like he is indifferent to what he's saying/feeling like no other. The title track is another favorite. With lyrics like "And every evening when he gets home/To make his supper and eat it alone/His black shirt cries while his shoes get cold", again set to cheerful music, it's hard to know what to feel while listening to it. But with the words "It's just a dream he keeps having", it's like he's trying to reassure that something isn't wrong.
Tweedy's lyrics are like no other in music today, and 'Summer Teeth' showcases not only that, but how different yet enjoyable a great alt-country/alt-pop album can be. "