Being There



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 15th, 2005 | 17 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist


Jeff Tweedy - Lead Vocals, Guitar
Ken Coomer - Vocals, Percussion, Guitar, Drums
John Stirratt - Bass
Max Johnston - Mandolin, Fiddle, Banjo, Lap Steel
Jay Bennett - Piano, Organ, Harmonica, Accordian, Guitar, Vocals

Wilco rose from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, consisting of former members Jeff Tweedy, Ken Coomer, John Stirratt, and Max Johnston. While the first Wilco album A.M. was more straightforward country influenced rock, their second album, Being There was a huge step forward for the band. The album blends Tweedy's typical alternative country sound with psychedelia, soul, pop, and even some R&B elements. This is a 19 song rock adventure, and this 2-disc album is one of my all-time favorites. In my opinion this album is superior to their newer albums that have brought them into the mainstream light a bit.

This song starts off and it sounds nothing like traditional Wilco. There are buzzing and scratching noises and droning guitars. Then at around the 50 second part a clean guitar comes in with Tweedys vocals and a great piano melody. The song quickly become a beautiful ballad. Everything fits together so nicely, and the slight effect on the vocals just adds to the beauty and pain of the song. The piano is really the focal point for the first half of the song, then around the midway point a distorted guitar comes in for just long enough to change the mood for a few seconds, then the song regains it's ballad form. Then about 2/3 through the song gets much heavier, and some of the vocals are even yelled. It is really a passionate song with so many moods. It ends with Tweedy thanking us all "for nothing, for nothing at all". Thank you Jeff, for something, a great song. One of my favorites on the album.5/5

Far, Far Away
This song is a bit different from the first song. It has a folky/country feel to it, with slide guitar, and such. Not twangy country, but awesomely good country. There is just the right amount of piano, but Tweedy's vocals make the song. The lyrics are sweet. "With those bright lights, I know it's right. Deep in my heart, I know it's right". That is the best part of the song, simple yet so profound. This is my favorite song on this album. It has such a somber feel to it, but in the end it is a feel good song.5/5

This song is the first real upbeat song on the album. Either a synthesizer or just an odd instrument creates a strange sound. This is more of a classic rock song than the previous two. It has the guitar solo and everything, but with an added touch of a horn section. Pretty straghtforward how you would expect a rock song to go, the hooks are all there, and are pretty catchy. A good song overall. 3.5/5

Outtasite (Outta Mind)
This is another upbeat song. A slightly heavy song too. Great lyrics here like "I know we don't talk much, but you're such a good talker, oh oh. I know we should take a walk, but you're such a fast walker, oh oh." This is classic Wilco really. A great catchy feel good alt/country song. The main guitar riff is really the highlight of the song, it is so catchy. What can I say? I like this song. 4.5/5

Forget the Flowers
An acoustic country song. This is most peoples favorite on the album. It has a bit of a twangy feel to it with the banjo, but the hook really lies with Tweedy's vocals on this song. It is really simple musically, but does have a nice banjo solo midway through. The background vocals are nice too. Not much else to say. Good song. 4/5

Red-Eyed and Blue
Song starts with Tweedy clearing his throat. Then a somber sounding guitar comes in, not a country song like the prior one, this is a real change of pace. The guitar is dark, and the effect on the vocals really make for a song almost void of any emotion. There is some whistling almost out of nowhere near the end of the song that really doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the song too well. This isn't one of the stronger songs on the album. 2/5

I Got You (At the End of the Century)
This song is really different from anything prior to it on the album. The guitar has a real nice delay effect on it, and the vocals are almost choir like with the background joining Tweedy's lead vocals. There is no real clear chorus or hook, but the whole song is just really solid. Some there is actually a clapping accompaniment to the guitar solo which is a bit odd. I really like the guitar in this song though. This is one of my favorites off the album. 4.5/5

What's the World Got In Store
This song begins with just Tweedy's vocals and banjo, and really it doesn't work quite as well as he intended. The song isn't really that good. It gets a bit better when the rest of the instruments come in at the 1 minute mark, but the basis of the song is still the same, and isn't strong. The organ that comes in near the end feels out of place also. This is a skipable song on the album. 2/5

Hotel Arizona
This is another decent, but not great song. The background vocals are a bit strange, but nice. And the organ really drives the song. The break in the midpoint is perfect. After that the song gets odder with droning guitar and synthesized noises. It really has a different mood from everything else on the album. There are so many different moods on the album. 3.5/5

Say You Miss Me
Another ballad from Jeff. Slide guitar and piano drive the song along with his heartfelt vocals. This is really where Wilco is at its best, doing these softer, ballad songs, and their straightforward rock. I like their experimental side, but at this point they don't have that mastered yet. I really can't get enough of this song. It is great and one of my favorites on the album, and a fitting ending for the first disk with the lyrics "Do you miss me too? Baby, say "I'll miss you". 5/5

Sunken Treasure
This disk starts off in a similar mood to the last with a softer almost sad song. This is pretty much just a guitar and Jeff with Coomer almost just there as a metronome for the first half of the song. Then about halfway through, as if on cue, distorted guitars come in just as a break from the acoustic part, and before you know it it is back to the same feel as the song began with. Very slow, soothing, calm, nice. I like this song. 4/5

Someday Soon
This is short country song complete with banjo and slide guitar. It is also an experimental song with organ and choir-like background vocals. It really blends better than it sounds like it would. Not a great song by any means, but not a bad song. It is just short enough where it is not a bad song. 3/5

Outta Mind (Outta Sight)
This is a reprise of the song "Outtasite (Outta Mind)" on the first disk. This is more spacey sounding with choir-like backing vocals, and a simple guitar. Personally I think this song just as good as the first version. It is a nice change in style. 4.5/5

Someone Else's Song
The song starts off with just an acoustic guitar riff which is actually rather calming. Then at the 1 minute mark Jeff's reverbed vocals come in. This is a rather sad song, but it is nice to listen to. It has a nice folky feel to it, very simple. 4/5

There is a 2:30 instrumental intro to the song. If one word could describe this song it would be "funky". The guitar riff is funky, the rhythm is funky, the vocals are funky. The vocals don't last long though, and there is a nice funky 1:30 long outro. 3/5

(Was I) In Your Dreams
This song fuses piano with slide guitar nicely. It really has the feel of a piano bar song. This is nothing like anything else on the disc. The piano is really the highlight of the song. The vocals are hit and miss. An ok song. 3/5

Why Would You Wanna Live
This song isn't as dark as the title may lead you to believe. It isn't good either. The mixture of piano and guitar doesn't work as effectively here as it has in previous songs, and when the banjo comes in, it's skip time. 2/5

The Lonely 1
This is a really slow, spacey, sad song. The guitar comes in with a sad violin. I love the feel of this song with beautiful guitar and violin, and just the perfect amount of organ. Tweedy's vocals are the highlight though. The lyrics are beautiful, and he sings them so well. When this song comes on, I can't concentrate on anything else. It is just such a beautiful masterpiece. My favorite on the second disc by far. 5/5

Dreamer In My Dreams
Wilco chooses a nice dancey upbeat song to end this album. This is another style that they hit perfectly, sort of a honky-tonk sounding song, with nice use of violins. Tweedy alters his vocals to fit the style really well too. I like this song, and is a really fitting song for the band to go out on. A feel good song. 4.5/5

So while there are obviously some songs that aren't so good, between the 19 songs there are plently of quality ones. Perhaps they could have squeezed out a couple of songs and put this on one disc, but overall I really like this album. The mixture of styles is unlike anything I have heard before, and this album is a triumph for Wilco. Like I said, my favorite Wilco album, ahead of YHF and A Ghost Is Born.

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user ratings (398)
other reviews of this album
joshuatree EMERITUS (5)
Wilco doesn't do anything wrong on this double-disc opus....

jjstephani (5)
Being There catches a raw Tweedy and company right before their mainstream aspirations take over for...

Comments:Add a Comment 
Tangy zizzle
October 23rd 2004


Is this your first review?

Pretty damm indepth. I'll check it out.

Scott Herren
October 23rd 2004


I've done several reviews (9 on this name). Thanks, you won't regret getting this.

October 23rd 2004


I like this album, but I prefer AM.

Why did you give it a 5/5, when you rated all the songs quite low or mediocre?

el doctor
October 23rd 2004


Excellent album. I could go back on forth about whether or not I prefer this or YHF. I think what makes this possibly their best album is that they began to explore their musical possibilities, but there's definitely still alt-country roots in it (unlike Summerteeth and beyond). It's incredible too that you're getting both quantity and quality on this album. Great review of course; I'm pleased that you went the extra length of reviewing every single song, rather than just picking highlights. And I agree that even though some of the songs are a bit mediocre, the number of good songs to choose from really makes up for it.


October 23rd 2004


Iwant to dowload this album off soulseek sometime.

Scott Herren
October 23rd 2004


[QUOTE=badmoon349]I like this album, but I prefer AM.

Why did you give it a 5/5, when you rated all the songs quite low or mediocre? [/QUOTE]
I didn't give it a 5/5, and I didn't rate all the songs low or mediocre. :confused:

October 24th 2004


Woops, I was looking at the last song, and noticed the rating "5/5", and I shouldn't have put all.

October 24th 2004


[QUOTE=badmoon349]Woops, I was looking at the last song, and noticed the rating "5/5", and I shouldn't have put all.[/QUOTE]

Don't feel bad, I did the same thing :lol:

Yea, so who is going to give me this album over soulseek?

October 24th 2004


Is this a good album for first timers, or Yankee Foxtrot?

October 24th 2004


This is the first Wilco album I got, and I really like it. There are some ups and downs, and I pretty much agree with the song ratings. I'd say get YHF first though Happy.

October 24th 2004


The first time I heard Wilco a few years ago they kinda bored me, but I'm willing to check them out this time around.

March 1st 2005


can you give me some bands wilco kinda sounds like if possible

August 13th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Does anyone know why this is released as a double album when both discs can easily fit on one? Is it to match the vinyls or something?

January 14th 2007


sweet album

January 15th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

They really should have limited this down to one single disc. I enjoy listening to this type of music in small doses so I rarely wind up listening to both discs all the way through.

There's still some amazing stuff off of this like Sunken Treasure and Misunderstood.

February 28th 2007


So this is basically one of the best albums of the '90s.

Two-Headed Boy
February 28th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Hard to argue.

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