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Five Wilco songs you didn’t know were depressing

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The first time I was dumped, I spent three days in my room watching Holocaust movies on Netflix while playing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in a constant loop. Now, maybe this is Schindler's List talking, but the lyrics in Wilco songs can be deceptively depressing. Like something that you think is good but upon more reflection realize is actually bad (fruitcake, for example), a lot of Wilco songs sound upbeat on first listen but are in fact deeply melancholy. I can sort of expect tracks with titles like "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" to be a little dark, but here are five Wilco songs I didn't expect to be so damn sad, to coincide with the release of their latest album The Whole Love.

1. "Hummingbird," from A Ghost is Born

Pretty strings, light piano… wait. What kind of person's goal in life is to be a reverberated sound? How insubstantial must you be to be rendered less upsetting than a TV montage? Okay, I confess I may have chosen that animated YouTube video to highlight the disparity.

 

2. "She's a Jar," from Summerteeth

My pop-quiz kid. What a beautiful thing to call someone. Sleepy kisser. Wait, you're hitting her?

 

3. "I'm Always in Love," from Summerteeth

There are just too many devastating lyrics in this one. Turn up that catchy, loud, hey-guys-how-about-a-road-trip distorted opening just in time to hear "Why, I wonder, is my heart full of holes?" It only gets sadder from there.

 

4. "Either Way," from Sky Blue Sky

This is an Elliott Smith kind of either/or (which is arguably the worst kind). Either things won't work out, or they won't. And let's be honest, if you're Elliott Smith or Jeff Tweedy, you're probably assuming they won't.

 

5. "Jesus, etc.," from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Maybe you can blame this on my inattentiveness to lyrics (actually, you can attribute this entire list to my inattentiveness to lyrics) but for a very long time I thought Jeff Tweedy was saying "Jesus don't cry" as kind of an instruction. Like, "Don't cry, significant other. Jesus doesn't cry," when what he's really saying is "Jesus, significant other, please stop crying — it's driving me crazy." Somehow, I don't think she can rely on him to be around.