The Top 20 Jeff Tweedy Songs: #17 “She’s a Jar”

Videos by American Songwriter


“She’s A Jar”

Band: Wilco

Album: Summerteeth (1999)

Co-Writer: Jay Bennett

Key lyric: “She says forever, to light a fuse, we could use a handful of wheel, and a day off,  and a bruised road, however you might feel, tonight is real.”

In retrospect, “She’s A Jar” seems like a blueprint for the songs on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco’s most infamous LP.

The lyrics are poetic and surreal, and the themes jive with Foxtrot’s internally-conflicted songs like “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “Ashes of American Flags.” Compare “She’s a Jar’s” “when I forget how to talk, I sing” to “Ashes of American Flags'” “I shake like a toothache, when I hear myself sing.” Elsewhere, Tweedy describes his lover as a “pretty war,” foreshadowing Foxtrot’s “War on War.” The chorus (“just climb aboard the tracks of a trains arm”) contains a quick, evocative chord change that delights every time.

Summerteeth shows a band in a state of musical flux, piling on the overdubs and the Mellotron to create mini-pop-symphonies. The artistic leaps they made from their relatively lo-fi debut album, A.M., to this one, four years later, are astounding. Tweedy’s songwriting style was changing as well.

“I definitely wanted to get better at writing,” he told writer Greg Kot, “and those things happened simultaneously with trying to read better. I would write tons of stuff in my head, and forget. Some songs on Being There, I don’t think I ever wrote any lyrics down … To fight that, I started writing words on paper and making up melodies to go with them. By writing things down, and putting more words into my head, it put more words in my mouth when I turned on the tape recorder to sing. ”


20.“The Long Cut”
19. “That’s Not the Issue”
18. “Promising”


Leave a Reply
  1. Hey Wilceaux…. I love the name!

    Anyway, I agree; this is top 5 easy!!!!

    Ashes of American Flags
    Jesus, etc.
    Pot Kettle Black (maybe I’m alone, but I think this song is PERFECT)
    Via Chicago
    She’s a Jar….

    Or something like that???

    It’s funny though, when you try to list ’em
    you start remembering all the great songs!
    It’s like Ani Difranco says: “what kind of scale
    compares the weight of two beauties …..tell me what kind of gauge
    can quantify elation?
    what kind of equation
    could i possibly employ?

    Summerteeth contains at least 10 amazing songs, and everything on YHF is beautiful.
    Ghost has at least 5 great songs and so does Sky Blue Sky!

    So there, I’ve help nothing!

Leave a Reply


Kendel Carson Plays Second Fiddle to No One