RED Hearts: Free Wilco Album

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

Today's RED Hearts comes from Carey Dunne, 25, in Brooklyn. She's here to tell you about another a free album you really need to download.

Wilco is one of the few bands I was obsessed with as a 15-year-old that I'm still obsessed with now. And I expect to never outgrow them, not even when I'm a dad rock-listening old lady and newer, daddier dad rock has come and gone.

The last time I saw them live was in a downpour in June, at New Orleans Jazz Fest, standing in disgusting-smelling mud. Most people in the crowd were pot-bellied 40-plus men with bucket hats, tie-dyed T-shirts, and cargo shorts — guys I would've thought I had nothing in common with if it weren't for our mutual love of this band. It was the least cool music festival you can imagine.

But Wilco is one of those bands that transcends the tyranny of cool, which makes their live shows so much better than those that feel like look-at-me scenester fashion shows. When they took the stage, droll frontman Jeff Tweedy pointed out that the weather "could be worse."

As they played "Jesus, Etc.," an aging hippie tripping out and wildly flailing his arms and legs around splattered mud in my face. But… it could be worse. Soon, lightning started striking the fairgrounds and the amps were fritzing out. Their set ended early. Everyone booed.

But Wilco had played most of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and a good part of A Ghost Is Born, so it was still among the better shows I'd ever seen. Also, this was my second Wilco show in a serious downpour (two summers ago, Ommegang Brewery, I wore a trash bag poncho). That too was one of the better shows I’ve ever seen.

Point is, I think this works as a cheesy metaphor for my general feelings about this band: Listening to Wilco makes me not mind if the weather sucks or hippie or hipster is sending mud in my direction. Their music is that good.

So I was excited when they released their first new album in four years, Star Wars, a couple of weeks ago — as a surprise and a free download. The first track, "EKG," made me think my headphones were broken when I first listened to it, but turns out it's just that twitchy and weird of a song (in a good way).

Confession: I realize I have no idea how to write about music. There are only so many adjectives that can describe sound, and none of them ever seem to do justice to the nuances of feeling a song. All I know how to say is, "This is really good, go listen to it." For an articulate analysis of Star Wars, go read the smartypants Pitchfork review. (It describes one song as "skronking" — see, you have to make up words in order to write about music effectively.) Or you can skip the reviews and just go listen to the record itself. It’s the perfect addition to your summer soundtrack, under sunny skies or in case of extreme downpour. RED Hearts guest poster Carey Dunne is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.