Track of the Day: 'I Am Trying to Break Your Heart' by JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

I’m dancing in my seat to this reader’s pick:

Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” is a noisy, distressing indie-rock classic, but in the hands of fellow Chicagoans JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, it transforms into an exuberant Motown-style pop song. It’s a full-bodied conversion, made even weirder when, two minutes in, the band momentarily switches gears to include a snippet of lyrics taken from “Theologians,” a mid-tempo Wilco song that’s closer to Emily Dickinson than American soul. And yet that embroidery feels seamless, mostly because it extends Wilco’s persistent sense of play, but also because it gets at how so much of rock, soul, and poetry have common roots in gospel music.

Update from the reader, Eric Beltmann, who adds:

Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s frontman, has endorsed the cover and once surprised the Uptown Sound by joining them onstage at the 2011 Solid Sound Festival.

Watch that moment here.

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