Short Story in a Song — “Misunderstood”

I got Wilco’s debut album, A.M., when it came out, but it wasn’t until they released Being There that I really sat up and took notice. There are a lot of great songs on this ambitious double album, including “Outtasite (Outta Mind),” “I Got You (At The End of the Century)” and “Sunken Treasure,” but nothing quite so anthemic as the opening track. Sitting somewhere on the angsty suburban continuum between The Replacements and Beach Slang, “Misunderstood” gives a sneak peek into the musical direction Wilco would later perfect on their breakthrough album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Our narrator is back in his old neighborhood, smoking cigarettes and wondering what happened to his music career. There are million dollar song ideas rattling round his head, but he’s convinced that nobody wants to hear them. Beat down and fresh out of  inspiration, he falls back into comfortable addictions that deliver oblivion one house party at a time. Things have gotten so hopeless that he even starts to question his love of rock and roll—the one thing in life that always gave him hope. So don’t be surprised if you find him somewhere screaming at the top of his lungs, thanking each and every one of us for nothing at all.

Read the full lyrics for “Misunderstood” HERE.

More “Short Story in a Song” posts:

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.

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