Quick Review (LP): The Whole Love by Wilco

Wilco
The Whole Love
dBPM; 2011

My Rating: B (66/100)

Best Tracks: "Art of Almost", "I Might", "Black Moon", "Born Alone", "One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)"

Wilco almost makes another great record.

TRACK NOTES

"Art of Almost" (4.5/5)

  • Probably their most obtuse cut since A Ghost Is Born, maybe even Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
  • Cool song, though unfortunately it’s not quite brilliant. Extra points for really trying though.
  • Also, as the opener, it doesn’t quite portend the overall sound of the record, which is really pretty conventional.

"I Might" (4.5/5)

  • Very nice poppy cut.
  • The organ reminds me of Elvis Costello’s early sound.
  • This is their best pure single since "Jesus, etc."

"Sunloathe" (4/5)

  • Reminds me of a Summerteeth rarity.
  • "Pieholden Suite", that’s what it reminds me of. It has that same vibe.
  • Very midwestern sound. The meandering piano work could’ve been sampled from "Dream On" or something.

"Dawned On Me" (3.5/5)

  • Hey, remember "You Never Know?"
  • OK, for someone who is such a completely off-kilter lyricist, I’m surprised at the fact that a cliché forms the basis for this song.
  • Nice performance otherwise.

"Black Moon" (4/5)

  • Smooth and mellow.
  • This actually sort of reminds me of their debut, but in a good way.
  • OK, as the somber tune of the bunch, me likey.

"Born Alone" (4.5/5)

  • Almost twee at first.
  • And then big ol’ distorted section blares in…
  • Brilliant lyrics. And I love the way the riff dissolves in dissonance at the end of each repetition.

"Open Mind" (4/5)

  • Hey, (it’s almost) alt-country!!!
  • This one’s swell and all. It’s sort of just a song…
  • Tweedy can write the pretty melodies, that’s fer sure.

"Capitol City" (3.5/5)

  • First we had a little Elvis Costello, now we’ve got a little P. Mac.
  • Tweedy said this one goes back to the Being There sessions. That’s a long time to sit on a track.
  • Fits right in with "Yellow Submarine", "Octopus’ Garden", etc.

"Standing O" (4/5)

  • Now this one REALLY emulates Elvis Costello.

"Rising Red Lung" (4/5)

  • Hushed.
  • The instrumentation reminds me a bit of Allman Brothers.

"Whole Love" (4/5)

  • Just what does this "Whole Love" look like?
  • I don’t know, but Jeff really wants to show it to us.

"One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)" (5/5)

  • Dear Wilco, More like this please. Love, Your Fans.
  • Seriously, this is the kind of thing that makes Wilco great.
  • This is their best closer, hands down, and probably in their top 10 cuts.

ALBUM NOTES

  • There are some brilliant moments here, and the album sports a great cover, but unfortunately I don’t think Wilco has hit their full potential with The Whole Love.
  • That being said, "One Sunday Morning" is absolutely fantastic. Probably one of the best tracks from anyone this year.
  • Wilco has, for the last 7 years, been perhaps the best live band anywhere. I wish they would let themselves go a bit on the epic, cosmically scoped rock Americana that they are so capable of. I think this version of the band has a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in them somewhere, and I don’t think they’ve made it yet. Tweedy may be just a bit too self-satisfied at this point. Perhaps a little divine discontent is in order?
  • Still, all in all, The Whole Love will certainly keep me coming back for more Wilco. While it may not be their best yet (it’s definitely a step up from their last LP), it’s a solid record, and one I expect to listen to quite a bit more in the coming months.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3.5/5)
Songs (4.1/5)

Best Breezes: 5/31/10 – 6/6/10

Been away for a little while. Should be pretty consistent this week…

NPR: Best Opening Tracks?

(via NPR Music) If you follow this blog, you know by now that I am a music obsessive. So I love lists, especially when they discuss things like “best opening tracks.”  NPR’s editorial list can be found here. Interesting stuff. I’d have to include:

REM (“Radio Free Europe”, “Harborcoat”, “Finest Worksong”)
Radiohead (“Airbag”, “Everything In Its Right Place”, “15 Step”)
Wilco (“Misunderstood”, “I am trying to break your heart”)
Crain (“Car Crash Decisions”)
Slint (“Breadcrumb Trail”)
Rodan (“Bible Silver Corner”)
Belle & Sebastian (“Stars of Track and Field”)
Innocence Mission (“Keeping Awake”)
My Morning Jacket (“Mahgeetah”)
Mark Knopfler (“What It Is”, “Why Aye Man”)
Elvis Costello (“Accidents Will Happen”, “Clubland”)

in my own long list.

New Sun Kil Moon

(via onethirtybpm) I have a friend who was really into Mark Kozelek’s Red House Painters in high school, back when it was hard to get your hands on their stuff. I never got into them myself, but after hearing these new tracks from Kozelek’s Sun Kil Moon project (awesome name by the way), I might just dive headfirst into the world of “the other” MK.

GY!BE + “Weird Al” = WHAT???

(via Pitchfork) File this one under strange, even by the standards of both artists. Dear Lord, let there be a collaborative effort in the future.

New Superchunk On The Way

(via onethirtybpm) New Superchunk on the way. Superchunk is hit or miss with me, but when they hit, they knock it out of the park. (See “Driveway to Driveway”, “The First Part”, “Hello Hawk”, “Burn Last Sunday”)