Less Than You Think

Album: A Ghost Is Born (2004)

Songfacts®:

  • Wilco frontmman Jeff Tweedy has been dogged by migraine headaches, compounded by bouts of depression and panic disorder all his life. He has penned an account of these migraines and the painkiller addiction that followed on the New York Times' Migrane Blog. He wrote: "I honestly do not remember a time in my life when I did not have headaches. At one point they determined my migraines were the result of allergies, so I got numerous allergy tests and it turned out I was allergic to everything."

    His health problems all came to a head during the making of A Ghost Is Born. Tweedy was rarely able to work more than a few hours a day because of the cycle of pain and drug abuse. In this song the Wilco leader portrayed his condition. He explained: "In the worst periods of migraine suffering - in particular during the making of the record A Ghost Is Born - the cycle of pain and pain relief and pain killer abuse got really difficult to dig out of. I was rarely able to function for more than a few hours a day. For a lot of that record I was just trying not to be too drugged out and as a result I was suffering from enormous migraine type throbbing pain. Quite a bit of that came out on A Ghost Is Born. There is a lot of material that mirrored my condition. In particular there's a piece of music - 'Less Than You Think' - that ends with a 12-minute drone that was an attempt to express the slow painful rise and dissipation of migraine in music. I don't know why anyone would need to have that expressed to them musically. But it was all I had."
  • The album won Wilco their first ever Grammy awards for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Recording Package.

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