Wilco Loves You (baby)

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wilco.jpeg

Are you under the impression,
This isn't your life,
Do you dabble in depression,
Is someone twisting a knife in your back,
Are you being attacked,
Oh, this is a fact,
That you need to know,
Oh, oh, oh, oh Wilco, Wilco, Wilco will love you Baby

Ever since Summerteeth was released in 1999 and through 2006's Sky Blue Sky, I think Wilco has consistently been one of the most musically ambitious acts out there and actually rival the Beatles in their Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Preston's, White Album, Abbey Road hey day (musically, not culturally of course). For me, Sky Blue Sky was particularly stellar and grows on me to this day with it's jazzy mellow vibe and Nels Cline's amazing guitar work. Aside: If you want to see Nels really take on the songs of Sky Blue Sky, check out American Ashes, the DVD Wilco released this past Spring.

After a couple of years of touring in support of Sky Blue Sky, Wilco's reputation really grew as they put on concerts that were flat out wonderful. So it was with great anticipation when it became known that Wilco was coming out with a new album. As has been the case with the last few Wilco albums, the band streamed the album on their web site months before it was available commercially and reviews were mixed. It was mellower than previous albums and didn't hang together coherently like a typically Wilco album does.

After listening to the album a bunch of times over the past week I am not going to disagree with the initial buzz. Wilco (the album) is mellower. Sky Blue Sky was essentially a showcase for Nels Cline guitar freak outs and the new album lacks that (although if you want to get your Nels Cline on, don't skip over Bull Black Nova, which at times feels like an outtake from A Ghost is Born). But to say that this is meddling Wilco album means that it is still better than 80 percent of what is out there musically today.

Wilco (the song) is a nice kick off with it's Velvet Undeground-tinged guitars and soothing lyrics (see above). We may live in scary times but don't worry, Wilco loves us. I could see President Obama incorporating this song into campaign stops, substituting his name with Wilco's. Deeper Down is probably a song that is mentioned when critics claim this album is mellower and not so strong. As I mentioned above, Bull Black Nova is a hard rocker with some wicked Cline guitar work

You Never Know
, the first single and album highlight is a classic Wilco song and is related to the first song on the album in that Jeff Tweedy is basically telling us don't worry about the bad times, we've always had bad times. This may be the end -- we don't know, but you don't need to care. Also there is a nice homage to George Harrison's My Sweet Lord toward the end of the song.

While none of the songs in the later half of the album reach the heights of You Never Know, Wilco is still there by our sides as we navigate these troubled times. In I'll Fight, they assure us that not only do they love us (baby), they will fight and even kill for us. Can you name another band that will do that for it's fans?

Finally in Everlasting Love, Wilco assures us once again. "Everything alive must die, every building built to the sky will fall" but don't try to tell them that Everlasting Love is a lie. So not only does Wilco love us (baby) it's everlasting and that's no lie. The song and album fades out with a classic Nels Cline guitar work.

So maybe not as satisfying as the last few Wilco albums but a nice album nonetheless. Maybe the first post-economic meltdown, post-Obama election album, assuring us that the world isn't coming to an end. Sure we have problems, but with love we'll get through it and heck, if we don't, at least we have Wilco to bring provide us with music at the end.

8 Comments

Free - I bought this album before my 4th of July journey to 'Sconny and had a chance to listen to it 5 or 6 times. While I fell in love with Sky Blue Sky instantly, Wilco (The Album) took some time to grow on me. I totally agree with you that it is mellower, and is not a showcase for Nils Cline's guitar talents.

That being said, I am really starting to enjoy the entire album. My favorite song so far is "One Wing."

As with most Wilco albums, I can't help but hear the Beatles influence throughout. The Beatles "sound" on this one is not as overt as Summerteeth, but it is definitely there.

I got this last week along with Dinosaur Jr's Farm. Wilco records have been growers for me since YFH. Most of my favorite records are. Since he joined the band, the Nels Cline showcase songs have always been the highlights for me. 3 listens through, and this one appears no different. And the Harrison nod is spot on--they're even more pronounced on "Sunny Feeling", if you ask me.

The new Dino Jr record is easily amongst their best ever. No seriously. It's solid all the way through and J takes his rightful place among the great melodic hard rock guitarists. Pretty much ever song spots memorable riffs and hooks aplenty. Mascis also takes a ripping solo on nearly every cut. If you still listen to the group's catalog, I'd call this an essential purchase. If you haven't, this wouldn't be a bad place to start.

Hey E, you're the 3rd person who has said that the Djr disc is awesome. Guess I gotta check it out.

I kinda thought that Sonny Feeling had a Big Star quality to it as well.

I heard it when they were streaming it on the web site but it's going to take awhile to absorb it. I find that the way I feel about each new Wilco disc changes over time. They pack a lot of ideas and sounds into each tune and it takes me awhile to 'hear' it all. They remind me of a book or film that can be a little dense and sometimes even intimidating at first but reveal more as time goes by. Sometimes the tunes that don't resonate with me at first end up being my favorites after I become more familiar with them.

Interesting theory Stagger. We all agree that Wilco albums are "growers" (nice term E). I think Stagger figured out why that is. All I know is that I was humming "Wilco, Wilco, Wilco loves you baby" all weekend long.

Jeff, you gotta check out out the American Ashes DVD. A couple of times the camera just zooms in on Nels Cline's hands as he is whipping through some of those crazy Sky Blue Sky solos.

Free - I actually bought the Wilco DVD about a month ago. Very good stuff. Nels Cline is paticularily amazing on Impossible Germany and the opening tune - Ashes of American Flags.

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on July 6, 2009 9:24 AM.

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