Thursday, December 22, 2011
Album Review: Wilco: The Whole Love
One of the great ironies of the Chicago based band is that some critics like to scoff at them as the practioners of safe, 'middle of the road' music that pleases a late boomer/gen x demographic. They began with no certain fan base in mind and continue to work that way. As an outgrowth of the alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, Wilco began with little fanfare. Tweedy, considered second to Tupelo's lead songwriter Jay Farrar, has become a highly respected American songwriter.
A.M. (1995) Wilco's debut album continued in the alt-country mode of Uncle Tupelo. A low key, promising debut.
Being There (1996) A highly ambitious double album that celebrates 1970s classic rock, precursor to the revivial of rock in the next decade. The track "I got you (at the end of the century)" is the best example of a classic rock pastiche.
Mermaid Avenue (1998) Their colloboration with Billy Bragg of unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs is great folk-rock.
Summerteeth (1999) A pop extravaganza, height of Tweedy's colloboration with Jay Bennett. Filled with over the top production and haunting lyrics. But still no hits.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001) A landmark record for Wilco that got them dropped by their label and almost broke up the band. They were dubbed the 'American Radiohead.'
A Ghost is Born (2004) Tweedy's dark state of mind during this record comes through with songs about spiders filing tax returns, a stroll with the devil, coming to terms with addiction, and the loss of faith. Possibly their masterpiece.
Sky Blue Sky (2007) After two experiemental albums, a collection of mellow jam sessions - Nels Cline's guitar work adds a new dimension to Wilco.
Wilco: The Album (2009) Excellent set of songs, but some worried the album was too safe and lacked invention.