should have left that character "Wilco" in Vanity Town where he belongs
The Billy Bragg songs are OK but the Wilco songs are embarrassing. This is a journey to be done alone not with somebody else. I may be hard against Wilco but I don't like his self-aware phony voice. There is just too many of those voices around. Billy Bragg does not have that kind of voice - his voice sounds like being proud of being working class, forgetting yourself in the process.
"The Unwelcome Guest" is the best song because of that line about the gold you have taken from somebody else. When he sings that line, his voice goes down on that last word "else", leaving a chill behind it so strong that it carries the rest of the song. I do not think that he targeted this effect and I expect that it is just one of those gifts of fortune that hits those who are sincere in their quest.
Billy Bragg is sincere most of the time. He seems to be truly searching, while Wilco, sadly, is too full of himself to get anywhere.
When I write this, I do not know if this line really comes out in the movie but it does on the album.
I just saw the whole film and in the Special Features there is another version of Unwelcome Guest, which happily is not on the album, because this version proves that it was indeed just a gift of fortune, that line and that pronunciation of the last word, because Billy himself doesn't seem to understand it since the version on the DVD does not have the same pronunciation.
That's art - always greater than the artist - because the artist is not the source of true art and instead only its lucky receiver for the effort of being sincere.
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