Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Wilco - The Whole Love
I was so impressed with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that I bought my Dad a copy for Christmas that year.
He asked me “So what’s good that’s new music?” which is a question he asks regularly, to the point where I offer up something that I absolutely know he’ll like.
It wasn’t that way with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
I wasn’t entirely sure that he would like it.
And that’s what made the record so good: there were enough weird moments, off-putting sounds, and challenging topics to make the album something you needed to spend time with.
And time is a very precious commodity with my Dad.
I never heard a word about what he thought about the album, which means that it was probably too timid to devote any time with it.
Virtually every album since then would probably be more to his liking, while each one of those very same albums would become increasingly more pedestrian in my ears.
The Whole Love shows Wilco fans that a post-Bennett masterpiece is possible and goddamn if Tweety and company don’t get as close to a ball-hair to gain that very distinction.
And part of it is that The Whole Love sounds like a record that either compliments Tweety’s dominance or pressured for more of a partnership with him. The band sounds relaxed, playful and complimentary. Guitar interplay starts from nowhere, the rhythm section sounds more assured, and Tweety himself is in top form lyrically with phrases that shock, humor, and impress.
The difference between Y.H.F. and The Whole Love is how much the new album incorporates everything for the past decade proudly on its sleeve. It also doesn’t make a big deal of its weirdness. It’s learned to use the sounds and scratches more subtley.
The results are great. It’s an album you can settle into for years to come and one that puts Wilco back on track with an album that you’ll want to keep from your own father, choosing instead to hand it down to a son or daughter.