Uncle Tupelo

Gun/I Wanna Destroy You

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With the release of this 7", the first single off their second album Still Feel Gone, Uncle Tupelo established a pattern that was to remain pretty consistent for the next couple of years. After recording an album, they would then release a track from it backed with a cover of a band they respected. They were introducing their lineage and providing an avenue to understand what they were up to. Side A features the first track off Still Feel Gone, "Gun," which signals the mutation of their country-punk style on No Depression. The heavily distorted guitars are still there, as are the clutch-and-release tempo catharses, but the sound is completely smoothed out, almost as if it's sealed underneath a permeable dome of glass and water. The complete lack of high-end edge or distinct tonal bands is the sonic complement of the album's elliptically understated theme: the ascension of total alienation of self from world and the halting of life's progress into a stasis where the only action a person still possesses is the maddening device of critical self-reflection. Farrar and Tweedy's harmonies are sad and quiet -- it's night and you're driving through the country, the trees lit only by the pooling headlights, the world seems impossibly large, the night is eternal, and it only has consequence. It is a dream world of a realist hell only earth could produce. They back this up with a riveting cover of Robin Hitchcock's "I Wanna Destroy You," whose lines, "A pox upon the media and everything you read/they'll tell you your opinions and they're very good indeed," present the perfect corrective to 1991's Gulf War CNN spectacle.