Under Review: Wilco – Wilco (The Album)

With 2007’s Sky Blue Sky, Wilco found themselves with their first steady lineup in quite some time. That steadiness lead to an album that many found underwhelming, especially given the abrasive, confrontational sounds of their previous record, A Ghost Is Born. Seeing as how Sky Blue Sky was indeed one of my favorite albums of that year, and how it renewed my interest in the band (A Ghost Is Born was just too out there for me), Wilco (The Album) is both a continuation and evolution of their more refined sound. As information about the disc began to leak, it became apparent that Jeff and company were taking the whole “we’re not taking ourselves too seriously” thing way too seriously. I mean, just one look at the album’s cover should indicate you as such. Regardless, Wilco (The Album) features some of Wilco (the band)’s finest moments. One of the first rumors surrounding the album was that it would feature a duet with Feist, a notion that has paid off in the gorgeous “You And I.” There are many “dad rock” moments on Wilco (The Album) that echo Sky Blue Sky’s free-roaming melodics, but with tight arrangements on “Bull Black Nova” and “Sonny Feeling,” the overall tone is much more focused. The post-Beatles Lennon/Harrison vibe of “You Never Know” and the haunting lilt of “Country Disappeared” hearken back to the band’s golden albums, Summerteeth and Being There, respectively. Though Wilco (The Album) is musically fresh, it’s tough for the lyrics to rival some of Tweedy’s previous triumphs. “Wilco (The Song)” is delightful enough, but “Wilco will love you, baby” is hardly “I am an American aquarium drinker.” Wilco (the band) might be falling into a solid groove as far as musical direction goes, and that’s fine with me. All Tweedy needs to do is channel his earlier lyrical gift into a new batch of gems and people will be asking “Yankee Hotel who?”

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~ by E. on June 29, 2009.

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