Not surprisingly, Wilco
's debut album, A.M.
, isn't a great departure from Uncle Tupelo
's music rocks in a more conventional way than Uncle Tupelo
, rolling along with a loping beat that swings more than it rocks. "Casino Queen" is a shambling, bluesy honky tonk number that's boozier than anything Tupelo
recorded, which is indicative of the major difference between the bands. Wilco
wears its heart on its sleeve, writing songs that fit into the conventions of country-rock, not ones that rework the rules. "Box Full of Letters" doesn't deviate from the standard mid-tempo country-rock number, yet it's done so well it doesn't matter. Still, the opener, "I Must Be High" -- a clever love song that subtly tweaks both lyrical and musical clichés, as well as featuring a killer melody -- casts a shadow over A.M.
, offering the knowledge that Wilco
can subvert the genre without losing its accessibility. In its light, all the very good songs that follow seem somewhat disappointing.