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Song of the Week: Jeff Tweedy Waxes Nostalgic on “I Know What It’s Like”

on November 30, 2018, 2:31pm

Each week we break down our favorite song, highlight our honorable mentions, and wrap them all up with other staff recommendations into a playlist just for you. 

“I Know What It’s Like”, a new single from Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy in anticipation of his second solo album, WARM, is like a hug from an old lover: it’s comfortable, simple, but carries with it a bag of mixed emotions. At his foundation, Tweedy is a natural and powerful storyteller with the ability to imbue a few words with enough depth to create meaningful narratives. On “I Know What It’s Like”, this innate skill for building poignant glimpses into life is in full view, with lines like “When the lights are dim/ In my window I have a twin/ I’m always looking out/ And he’s always looking in,” giving the listener a profound image of reflection in the face of lost love.

In addition to Tweedy’s powerful lyrics, the single’s instrumental arrangement enhances a feeling of nostalgia and relatable sorrow that lingers even after the last notes close. It’s the kind of song that changes every time you hear it — the bare-bones chorus echoing through one’s mind with a message of love, loss, or remembrance depending on each listener’s circumstances each time they hit play.

– Clara Scott
Contributing Writer

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Billie Eilish –”Come Out and Play”

A comforting song that values quiet and delicacy, “Come Out and Play” features some of young singer-songwriter Billie Eilish’s most honest and confessional work to date, encouraging a lover to come out of their shell with lines like, “When we talk, you say it softly/ But I love it when you’re awfully quiet.” — Laura Dzubay

Meek Mill – “Oodles ‘O Noodles Babies”

Meek Mill’s “Oodles O’ Noodles Babies” is the type of song that makes you look up from whatever you’re doing: The varied yet unstoppable beat is bolstered by a swelling, atmospheric background that builds around grave lyrics about the projects, violence, the criminal justice system, and “shit you won’t see in the media.” — Laura Dzubay

Grimes – “We Appreciate Power (ft. HANA)”

An industrially driven R.S.V.P. to the coming dawn of the world of AI, “We Appreciate Power” is deliciously scary, pairing Grimes and HANA for a running motor of a track that boasts lines like, “Elevate the human race, putting makeup on my face.” — Laura Dzubay

Gucci Mane – “I’m Not Goin’ (ft. Kevin Gates)”

With Evil Genius close on the horizon, “I’m Not Goin’” offers a tantalizing dose of what’s to come, with Gucci Mane and Kevin Gates delivering a steadily rhythmic and hypnotic track that balances pride and professional identity with detachment and focus. — Laura Dzubay

Norah Jones – “Wintertime (ft. Jeff and Spencer Tweedy)”

Norah Jones has a voice perfectly suited for the falling snows and chills of early winter, and this song of hollow dreams and the quiet burden of endurance is the perfect venue for it; soothing and genuine, with an affected accompanying piano part, “Wintertime” is the singer-songwriter at her finest. — Laura Dzubay

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OTHER SONGS WE’RE SPINNING

Gerard Way – “Getting Down the Germs”

Understated yet self-assuredly addictive, “Getting Down the Germs” holds a microscope up to former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way’s songwriting prowess, with a steady beat and a surprising but effective use of flute functioning as the scenic, memorable track’s main weapons. — Laura Dzubay

Sharon Van Etten – “Jupiter 4”

Sharon Van Etten is undeniably the queen of languid sorrow, a fact that is all but evident from her most recent single, “Jupiter 4”, a song that captures melancholy in the sultry way that only Etten can. — Clara Scott

Vic Mensa – “Dark Things”

Vic Mensa is upfront and bare on “Dark Things”, addressing difficult issues like addiction and self-image in a musically resonant and indeed dark track coming in advance of his next EP, Hooligans— Laura Dzubay

Karen O and Danger Mouse – “Lux Prima”

Karen O‘s first revealed collaboration with Danger Mouse, “Lux Prima” sounds like if Dark Side of the Moon-era Pink Floyd had a love child with Little Dragon in the best way possible; the single is a nine-minute odyssey across droning synthetic soundscapes that explodes into a danceable center that’s gone just as quickly as it appears. — Clara Scott

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This Week’s Playlist

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