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The Beloved Enemy

Jay Bennett

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Album Review

Jay Bennett was, by all accounts, one of the key architects of the eclectic and gloriously shambolic sound of Wilco's formative albums Being There, Summerteeth, and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and a listen to Bennett's second proper solo album, The Beloved Enemy, shows he still knows how to conjure up the same ambience in the studio. However, The Beloved Enemy also makes it pretty clear just how much Jeff Tweedy brings to the picture in Wilco — songs, structures, focus, clarity, and a firm sense of direction, among other things. Bennett's melodies and the spare but deep-focused arrangements on The Beloved Enemy testify to the man's considerable gifts in the studio, but most of these tunes have a hard time resolving themselves musically, and as a lyricist his work often doesn't hit the mark (with "I Want You Back" and "It Might Have Looked Like We Were Dancing" as notable exceptions). And Bennett's shaky, nicotine-scarred voice wears out its welcome fairly quickly, though it's certainly effective in short bursts. There's a rickety beauty and tied-together charm in much of The Beloved Enemy, and it's not at all difficult to imagine Bennett making great albums with any number of people, from Will Oldham to Sam Phillips. But its many flaws and sadly empty feel also make it clear this guy is at his best when he has a collaborator, which is where this set falls conspicuously short.

Customer Reviews

Miss you Jay

RIP Jay Bennett....your contribution to this world is truly missed. happy I can finally add this to my collection.

Biography

Born: November 15, 1963 in Urbana, IL

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jay Bennett, a multi-instrumentalist who was a prominent presence in Wilco, broke off from the group late in 2001. Before his departure, he began writing songs with Edward Burch and the two put out The Palace at 4 A.M. on Undertow Records in spring 2002. In fact, the pair have worked together in one capacity or another for about seven years. Bennett first became acquainted with Burch in Illinois. At the time, Bennett belonged to the bands Steve Pride & His Blood Kin and Titanic Love Affair. In...
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The Beloved Enemy, Jay Bennett
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Contemporaries