Son Volt's "Question"

Jay Farrar has an almost endless list of incredible songs. Some are amazing lyrically, some have an Americana beauty that few current artists can touch and some barrel you over like the best of Crazy Horse. With Uncle Tupelo, he penned some of the best songs of the early 90s with "Chickamauga," "Looking for a Way Out," "Postcard," "Steal the Crumbs," and every other song he wrote alongside Jeff Tweedy.

When considering his post-UT output, most point to Son Volt's 1995 debut Trace. Although I do consider it a masterpiece, I've always been a bit more partial to their last record with the Boquists and Mike Heidorn, 1999's Wide Swing Tremolo. This record, unlike any Farrar record before or after, shows Farrar's aggressive side (Did anyone ever see him doing something like "Straightface" or "Jodel?"), without parting with the balladry that would make Gram Parsons' nudie suit get chills ("Hanging Blue Side").

Musically speaking, some turn to punk rock to get their rush. Some to hip hop or rap. I find it in Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Slobberbone, Arcade Fire, Pavement, The Clash and T. Rex. You know, the songs that have you pounding on the steering wheel as you drive down 280 or 95. The songs that make it impossible not to open the sunroof. The songs that have you dancing in your apartment. The songs that drive life right through you. Of the hundreds of Farrar songs I love, I'm not sure there's one that combines lyrical and musical force like "Question." The sound of the band is heightened by the lyrics and the combination knocks me on my damn ass.

Thoughts careen 'til I can't stand up
Where's the crime in a streak of bad luck
Words to pick at, retreat from
Words that fester if only to get at the truth
It's a question of you
What it all comes down to, is a different set of values
Throw away or mobilize to use.