Song of the Week – Can’t Stand It, Wilco


Back in the early 80s I was a fan of Uncle Tupelo – the brainchild of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar. When they split to form new bands – Tweedy with Wilco and Farrar with Son Volt – I was going to follow both.

Since then, Tweedy has come out on top. Wilco has been a hugely successful, critically acclaimed band and Tweedy has had further success as a producer and collaborator.

Wilco started covering the same alt-country terrain that was staked out by Uncle Tupelo. They would eventually record the adventurous Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and other innovative albums. The bridge between was Summerteeth (1991).

On Summerteeth, the band changed their recording style from “live in the studio” to more heavy reliance on overdubs and post production. Today’s SotW is “Can’t Stand It”, the lead off track from Summerteeth.

In fact, “Can’t Stand It” was originally recorded in a simpler form. But the record company suits at Reprise intervened and persuaded the band that it needed to be remixed to make it a more suitable single for a broader radio audience. I’ve never heard the original (I can’t believe it wasn’t included in the “expanded” reissue of Summerteeth along with the other bonus cuts) but I’ve read that they shortened the bridge and added bells. (Other than Naked Eyes version of “Always Something There To Remind Me”, who puts bells on a rock song?)

The lyrics tell the age old story of a broken relationship. This time it seems to center on the lies or misunderstandings between the couple.

The way things go
You get so low
Struggle to find your skin
Hey ho
Look out below
Your prayers will never be answered again

Phones still ring
And singers sing
Speakers are speaking in code
What now
Well anyhow
Our prayers will never be answered again

Depending on when you became aware of Wilco might affect how well you like this song. Fans of the later albums might find this too poppy. But I think the song has soul and the spirituality of the line “prayers will never be answered again.”

Enjoy… until next week.

2 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Can’t Stand It, Wilco

  1. Just goes to show – I thought Uncle Tupelo was some kind of weird country band until this came up on my “The Senders” radio on Pandora. It smokes. Love the guitar tone not to mention the playing:

  2. Love all three – Wilco, Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt. I didn’t know about Uncle Tupelo until they had broken up, unfortunately, but caught on with both Wilco and Son Volt for their first albums, saw Wilco live a few times when I lived in Chicago. You’re right about Summerteeth being a transition album – it really stands apart from their other albums, IMO. Thanks for the post.

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