My Top 1000 Songs #626: I'm The Man Who Loves You

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Ugh, yes, we're really making a third visit to Wilco's 2002 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And admittedly, "I'm The Man Who Loves You" is one of the more straightforward pop songs on an album strewn with mind-blowing, experimental tracks that somehow still remain solid rockers or gorgeous ballads. But it's a big song in terms of my personal relationship with the band.

Because there are some concert moments you simply never forget.

It was a 2000 Fillmore show, Wilco touring behind Summerteeth. That's still my favorite Wilco album, the one that elevated them from "pretty solid rock band" to the pantheon of distinctively great bands of my adult life. But the album itself didn't make me a convert at first, the kinda flat production failing to fully display the magic of the songs; it was hearing it live that did the trick. Yet over the course of a concert that was a major revelatory event for me, the wonders of the Summerteeth album coming truly alive, it was the encore that blew my socks off. Jeff Tweedy pulls out a badly-beaten guitar and starts playing this skronky, noisy riff, cutting loose into a brand new song, a wiggly hook that takes a standard if unpredictably askew country-tinged love song and turns it into something inexplicably thrilling.

We had to wait awhile for the new album to finally come out, the absurd label politics and the dissolution of that version of Wilco, but it was still a treat to finally get a version of "Man" on record, the noisy, slightly abrasive guitar lines counterpointed against jangly pop, even if it could never capture the eye-opening holy-shit sensation of that first live glimpse.

Live 2008:
Tweedy solo acoustic:
Here's a nice little country cover: