Sunday, July 04, 2004

Wilco - I am Trying to Break Your Heart (DVD)

This is a documentary about the roots-rock band Wilco and the trials and tribulations they suffered in the production of their 2002 CD `Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.' Initially given a good deal of support by their record label (Reprise) Wilco strayed from their previous country folk-rock sound to embrace more experimental studio techniques and used synthesizers and strings to flesh out their sound. Their suits at Reprise balked at this sea-change and eventually refused to release the record and booted the band from the label. While all of this is going on the band is suffering internal strife as one of the members is let go with acrimony.

The story of Wilco's last album has become legendary in the music world and this documentary, shot in grainy black and white tells the story and portrays the band and its leader Jeff Tweedy in a sympathetic light. Tweedy is shown as the disheveled genius musician pushing the art forward while the greedy evil corporate executives attempt to thwart him. It's nice to see the band triumph in the end, and the film does throw some light on the pressure that is undergone to make a record for a major label as well as showing some of the seedier sides of the music business as flaks on both sides beat their chest and trumpet their side of the story.

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