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Wilco - Wilco (The Album)

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Artist: Wilco

Album: Wilco (The Album)

Label: Nonesuch

Review date: Jul. 13, 2009

On the back of entirely derivative “experimentation,” bullshit controversy and I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, perhaps the most painfully dull rockumentary imaginable, Wilco has become Exhibit A in the case against 21st Century rock stardom. Since then, they’ve been pretty much treading water. But, hey – let’s check in. Maybe their new stuff has clues about the next al Qaeda attack!

As of ‘09, they’ve solidified their lineup (perhaps bandleader Jeff Tweedy has become less of the narcotized bully that drove out try-hard nerd Jay Bennett, the one guy who seemed to have any skin in Wilco’s artistic game (R.I.P.)). And they’ve achieved a smug, tenured predictability, a “perfectly crafted” lite-jam-band aesthetic that pleases the ballcapped everyman while confirming the prejudices of the boomer rock classicists who should be bankrupting Social Security any minute now. Wilco is a Great Band, if you like stuff that’s boring. And a lot of people seemingly do.

Are you comforted by cutesy stoner humor? (“Are you being attacked?… Wilco will love you.”) Do you enjoy pretty, lightly poignant conceits that never quite congeal into pop songs? (See “Deeper Down” and “One Wing.”) Do Kraut-rock rhythms, plinking piano chords and guitar feedback signal “danger”? (See “Bull Black Nova.”) Do Important rock bands bite the lackadaisical ‘70s work of John Lennon (“Everlasting Everything”) and George Harrison (“You Never Know”), and, if so, do their lead singers also duet with Starbucks-counter “chanteuse” Feist (“You and I”)? If you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions, Wilco (The Album) may be for you.

Otherwise, consider yourself free to continue pasting together your own musical menu, without interference from the dying music industry, the shriveled, parasitic music press, and their anointed Important bands. Fuck ‘em. It’s a good time to be alive.

By Emerson Dameron

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