Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy was recently featured on Song Exploder, the podcast dedicated to artists breaking down the process in which their songs were written and developed.
For the episode, Tweedy discusses the creation of “Magnetized” from Star Wars, offering a lot of interesting insight into his writing process.
First, he creates a “mumble track,” which is “a vocal melody based on just sounds.”
Next, he’ll “try to figure things out that have the same syllables, or the same meter, until I get something that’s satisfying, and then I’ll sing it.”
Tweedy says, “the idea is to not think too hard at that stage. Once you have translated all of the mumble tracks into a set of lyrics that are real words, it’s generally pretty jumbled and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and then there’s another layer of moving things around and getting closer to some meaning.”
“I just trust that some meaning will come out of this process and that something I want to say is going to be harder to conceal when I get my ego out of the way and I’m not trying to direct all meaning,” he says.
He later discusses the song’s meaning itself, his son’s contribution to the drum part, and the mastery of Nels Cline’s guitar work.
“It makes no sense at all for me to be playing guitar at all on a record when you have Nels Cline in your band,” he joked.
Listen to the full podcast below. It’s certainly worth 15 minutes of your time.