Monday, September 26, 2011

Wilco - The Whole Love (2011)

Almost a decade has past since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the first Wilco album that granted them media exposure and worldwide success, and its only natural that Wilco, being as North American as they can be, had to earn a place in the worldwide music scene more than being one more American band; in time they’ve delivered a particular sound and the public has been starting to acknowledge that.

Strangely The Whole Love doesn’t go straight forward to this particular sound, thus the consistency in the album is not on sight, but the exploratory sounding on the high end of the spectrum make this a not so typical Wilco album, but for me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

In The Whole Love we find a comfortable Jeff Tweedy in the front man seat, he’s come a long way since he’s rockabilly and country background since Uncle Tupelo split; but also its notable the very comfortable chemestry of the band rushing to experimentation back and forward, for example, the first song “Art of Almost” starts glitchy and muddy with heavy synths and amazing drumming, it goes building the sound contrasting the bands entire contribution and then a flawless set of strings, it also struggles with constant teasing sounds and false endings of the song, despite this, the best thing about it is a really spectacle between the band unspoken communication and contribution, every single member shine with something new to the table, creating a not typical Wilco vibe but leaving clear the capacity of any of the bands members; special emphasis in the guitar of Nels Cline hitting hard at the end of the song.

The second song and single “I Might” also has the presence of playfulness between the members but leaving to shine keyboardist Mikael Jorgensen and guitarist Nels Cline who play a sort of a jam feel with on and offs, also the muddy bass line of Pat Sansone give the song a deeper tone to the happy melody that goes around with the rest of the band.

“Capitol City” is another song that takes the listener to some new territory not so often seen on Wilco albums, in my opinion, the best vocals of Jeff Tweedy in the album and also a sort of city surfing sentiment on a summer day, it kind of reminds me the Feist feeling, good, cute, sweet and impossible to listen if you’re not having a sentimental journey to some cool big city lifestyle without loosing the small town warm welcoming people.

Ofcourse, this album has also a softer side, after all is called The Whole Love and it comes with songs like “Black Moon” and “Rising Red Lung” or alternative ballads like “Born Alone” or “Open Mind”.

But nothing says Wilco best than a good Wilco song, and probably the best over 10 minute song I’ve heard all year. This year has another artist with extremely long songs and critically acclaimed reviews: Josh T. Pearson’s new album Last of the Country Gentlemen and my point about that album was that the songs are too long, and they would be masterpieces if they were some couple of minutes shorter, just like he’s doing them live. But, returning to Wilco, “One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)” is a very repetitive song that has a lot of subtle transitions but never changes radically, and is 12 minutes of blissful singing about a weekend, and I was listening and thinking “man, this is how you do a 12 minute song”, for sure one of my favourite Wilco songs ever.

Overall the album has ups and downs, not all the songs are great but the album remains good with a fantastic opener and a killer (and I mean killer!) closing track.


1. Art of Almost
2. I Might
3. Sunloathe
4. Dawned On Me
5. Black Moon
6. Born Alone
7. Open Mind
8. Capitol City
9. Standing O
10. Rising Red Lung
11. Whole Love
12. One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfried)

Rate: 7.9/10

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