Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy talks to the Chicago A.V. Club about making “challenging” music, or not:
People really think narrowly when it comes to those types of challenges, and the idea that something has to be aggressive or avant grade, or atonal, even, to be a challenge. I’ve found it to be the exact opposite. We literally put 15 minutes of noise on a record that did not raise an eyebrow, but if you make a pop song with Feist on it, people are going to cry like the sky’s falling. It’s really going to hurt somebody. Our goal is to make some shit that we fucking like to play and feel good about, with the knowledge that that doesn’t hurt anybody. You’re basically doing something that you love to do, and you’re not really hurting anybody.
Emphasis added. While it’s hard not to read that and think he’s quite possibly being more than a little defensive, it’s impossible to argue with the facts. As a huge fan of straightforward pop songs, I’d like to challenge anybody—including Tweedy himself—to write a song as thoroughly great as “New Madrid,” “Passenger Side,” or “Forget the Flowers.” Why do people think you have to get weird?
My two-year-old totally loves “Wilco (The Song)” and “I’ll Fight” from the new album. And what’s not to love? They’re simply good songs.