5CD Deluxe Edition includes Original Album, 15 Previously Unissued Demos, Outtakes & Never Before Heard Songs, KCRW Session, Live at The Troubadour Set and Liner Notes by Steve Hyden
Wilco's boundary expanding second album Being There (1996) turned 21 in 2017, so it's officially old enough to go out there and have one on its own. To celebrate, this new deluxe 5CD reissue adds a 15-pack of bonus tracks including alternate versions of "I Got You" and "Say You Miss Me," plus never-before-released recordings like "Dynamite My Soul" and "Better When I'm Gone." Also included is Wilco's 1996 session from KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show and the band's raucous 20-song set from the Troubadour in Los Angeles, November 12, 1996. In-depth liner notes from journalist Steven Hyden are the proverbial straw that stirs the drink.
Motivated by leader Jeff Tweedy's desire to improve on his band's debut A.M. and informed by numerous life changes including the birth of his first child, Being There begins a cycle of creativity and ambition in Wilco's career that has yet to let up. Far more mature and advanced than anything Tweedy and Co. had done before, the eclectic double album finds the group moving beyond straightforward country-rock and embracing a gambit of styles that encompass power-pop, romantic balladry, barroom-brawling rock, and immersive psychedelia. A journey that is ultimately about finding solace in rock n' roll, Being There is a seminal record in every sense and it has only bettered with the passage of time.
The late Jay Bennett, a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who joined the band before the recording sessions, is also largely responsible for the artistic growth. His keen pop sensibilities and keyboard playing expand Wilco's core rootsy sound, while Tweedy pushes himself as a songwriter. Introspective, surreal, and personal, tunes such as the explosive "Misunderstood" and meditative "Hotel Arizona" signal the arrival of a singular talent coming to terms with his own anxiety, restlessness, and dreams. And the band is up to the challenge. In addition to blending myriad sounds, Wilco gets more comfortable with the studio and adorns several arrangements with horns, strings, and hand claps.