CD Review: Wilco — Wilco (The Album)

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Wilco (The Album)

Nonesuch Records

By Eileen Tilson

Perhaps it’s the fact that there is a camel named
Alfred on their latest album appropriately titled, WIlco (The Album), that gives
the indication that after 15 years of migraines, drugs, band fights, anxiety and
depression, Wilco has finally decided it is time to lighten up. After years of
Woe is Me Wilco, Jeff Tweedy has come out with an album that wants to have some
fun. This is the seventh album from the band, and rose quickly to their third
top 10 album in the U.S. pop charts.

Opening up with “Wilco (The Song)” Tweedy gives his
fans the ultimate tongue and cheek love letter, singing, “Are you under the
impression, this isn’t your life?/Do you dabble with depression…Wilco will
love you baby.” The album’s first single, “You Never Know,” is a simple Wilco
pop song with distorted guitars and Cheshire cat advice from Tweedy, poking at
the immaturity of the emo-generation, asking them to “act their age, go back to
black metal and perms.” On “You and I,” a sweet melodic ditty, Tweedy is joined
by indie-pop princess Jennifer Feist. “Bull Black Nova” is their only
solo-heavy song, in which Television influences are abundant, but they get it
out of the way early on.

Arriving days after the news of former band
member/founder Jay Bennett’s death from an accidental overdose, this album’s
characters are a far fetch from the anxiety ridden youth from previous years.
This is music for the jaded; the slightly frayed, who once upon a time were
hopeful and idealistic, and now are just looking to eek out their small place in
the world. Towards the end of The Album, comes “I’ll Fight,” with Tweedy
again reaching out to his congregation to “Die alone, like Jesus on the Cross,”
but somewhere in the midst of the song, you realize that this is the way music
is supposed to be; healing for those who feel forgotten.

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