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A Ghost Is Born CD

339 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, June 22, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

2004 album from the Americana/Alt-Rock band formed by guitarist/songwriter Jeff Tweedy.

The infectious twang and pop hooks of Wilco's former efforts may be fading fast, but A Ghost Is Born is still a rewarding effort that demands repeated listening. The group's fifth album extends upon the experimentalism of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot with angular, blues-soaked guitar riffs ("At Least That's What You Said," "Hell Is Chrome"), a handful of sparse, yet catchy tunes (smack dab in the middle of the disc) that will surely keep college radio stations smiling, and a lengthy track that descends into mere static ("Less Than You Think"). Frontman Jeff Tweedy's songwriting continues to evolve: "Hummingbird" is a dreamy Randy Newman-styled love song; "The Late Greats" is a sly ode to the world of pop tacked onto the end of the album (as if using such a fun song on this understated disc was an afterthought). Meanwhile, producer extraordinaire Jim O'Rourke manages to make the most complicated arrangements here sound minimalist and laid-back. All told, it's another great addition to the Wilco canon. --Jason Verlinde
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 22, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00020P7TM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (339 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steven Piraino on March 14, 2005
Format: Audio CD
A lot of listeners sound kind of puzzled by this album. Quite frankly, I think these people are lazy.

Its kind of incredible how much fuss is made about how this album is "out there". When I got this thing, I expected something like Amnesiac. Amnesiac this is not. Yes, initially, this album is difficult to wrap your mind around because each song is not constructed around two or three signature hooks. So you can't pay attention for ten seconds, absorb the hook, think "thats cool" and then go back to talking to your girlfriend on the phone. You have to actually pay attention for the duration of the song to get something out of it. However, once you've put in your time and listened to a song four or five times, you can appreciate this album effortlessly and these songs become really cathy and riveting--and fun. Now I can't stop listening. Its a blast.

The arrangements are much simpler than on YHF. Basically, drums, bass, guitar, piano, and some occassional help from a synthesizer. The vocals are mixed up front as they usually are in Wilco. There are a few spots where Tweedy belts, but he's usually soft spoken. If you liked YHF, you'll like this just as much--maybe more. Just put your time in. This is a really good, conventional rock album. The song structures are just a little bit more difficult to master.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm not particularly interested in ranking AGIB among previous Wilco releases; let it suffice to say that this record stands on its own two feet, and though some listeners may hint that it wobbles, I have the sinking suspicion that it is meant to wobble. The beauty in this album is the struggle, the thin filament that borders whispers against the screams, experimentation next to tried-and-true progressions. Just listen to the first track, "At Least That's What You Said." The break after the lyrics end, the hint at the guitar solo that merely echoes where the song has gone (seemingly in predictable circles), the following discord that is so forcibly loud (as Tweedy's voice is so soft), and finally Tweedy's solo that just takes off. The song becomes airborne with his guitar and it produces that amazingly sick and sweet feeling in your chest and you just know part of your soul has escaped you and has been carried off.....ahhhh....

Or, perhaps, for further proof of intentional contrast, listen to "Hummingbird" and "Less Than You Think" together. On the former, Tweedy's voice sounds the most familiar, stark and rusty and full of rough road, and the melodic nature of the song meshed with lyrics of wistful and learned remembrance, quite typical of Tweedy productions, is as soothing and soft as the added touches of dulcimer and viola. I can understand the Beatles references to this track, especially because of the strings, the percussion and the harmony. But the brilliance of this `simple' track is, I think, as significant as it is small.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Michael Aiello on March 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This album is one of Wilco's best, if not the best. But don't spend twice as much as you need to on this unless you are an avid collector. The bonus tracks can be attained via Wilco's website ([...]) as a free EP if you own the basic version of the album.

That said... "Panthers" is one of Wilco's most interesting compositions and the live tracks are outstanding (as always). "Kicking Television" is an R.E.M. style rocker that is sure to please most Wilco fans.

But, for most of you, know that you'll get all of this for the same price as the original version of A Ghost is Born.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Questad on March 2, 2005
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard Yankee Foxtrot, I was gassed immediately. From the very first seconds of "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" we knew right away how big this was.

"A Ghost Is Born" is different. And I think we settle into a mindset on first listen to a new record and it colors the way we feel about it each time thereafter. We let that opinion hold us back on subsequent listens.

Ghost doesn't start with the beguiling and beautiful like Yankee did. It doesn't immediately intoxicate. In fact, the first track, "At Least That's What You Said" is understated to the point of a whisper... dark, distant. Hardly the kind of thing a "commercial" artist wishing to please would open an album with. But it's also an understated, crafty mirracle of a song. When it breaks down into a guitar jam midway through, you start to wonder where this album is taking you (and you should!). It has remarkably vulnerable lyrics and sets an intimate tone. It surprises you. And if you let that flow over you, it's nice to have an artist who doesn't hand you candy and turn cartwheels for you. This album is all about countering expectations, and there are a lot of surprises here that reveal only on repeated listening. Look at how many reviewers reveal theyu didn't get it at first. Expectations. Let them go and enjoy this fine record.

Some of Wilco's best songs are here, such as the resplendent "Hell Is Chrome". Or "Muzzle Of Bees" with it's delicate guitar playing and weird tones. "Hummingbird" is glitzy pop with a lyrical metaphor that's bright and clever. Some of Tweedy's best writing ever, lyrically, is in these songs, and many of the songs are built around ideas you'll find in his book of poetry.
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