Go to the NEW FORUM
Probably their best since at least 2004, maybe 2002. Have you guys heard it?
I've heard it. It's good, but not great. "A Ghost is Born" is a much better album. The underrated "Sky Blue Sky" is a bit closer to the album's quality, but "Sky Blue Sky" is still noticeably better. I'd say that it's still the same old Wilco that's been making music since 2007. Their last three albums have all been good, but I kind of wish they'd go back to experimenting. The sound of "Sky Blue Sky" was a good sound, but I think it's time for them to move on. "Art of Almost" is probably one of their best songs ever though.
I guess I'd give it like a 7.8/10 or something, which would be great for your average band, but it's a far cry from the perfect back to back solid 10.0's of "Summerteeth" and "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot".
Fantastic Tweedy interview here
Quote "it's way harder to make a direct song"
Probably buying it today.
Not to get off topic, but there's one thing Radiohead and Wilco have in common - specifically with regard to this site - that I've always found fascinating. A lot of artists are represented on the top 3000 albums list with their debut album and nothing more - one great statement of purpose turned out to be all they had in them. In contrast, for both Wilco and Radiohead, every single one of their studio albums appears in the top half of the list (for RH, they're all in the top 500) - EXCEPT for their debuts. Neither Pablo Honey (despite "Creep") nor A.M. are even Bubbling Under.
(Both bands' 2011 releases seem likely to eventually join their brethren on the top 3000, although I doubt The King of Limbs will make it into the top 500, depending on how the EOY lists shake out.)
The thing I like about Sky Blue Sky and Wilco The Album are the instrumental bits. They display the maturity they've gained as a band, but I miss the creative songwriting, so I don't place either on nearly as high a level as YHF.
Though I think their other albums are overrated, except for Being There, which would be easily their second best if it were a single album.
I'll check this one out on Rhapsody, but Wilco are no longer 'automatic buy' for me.
Tweedy on Sky Blue Sky
"There's a lot of critical shorthand for all the records, but especially the last two, which I don't agree with at all. The idea that those two records represent a certain amount of coasting is absurd to me, "Sky Blue Sky" in particular. It's way harder to make a direct song. I've learned that to say something really directly and understandably allows people the latitude to take whacks at it. People are a lot more apprehensive about criticizing things they don't understand. On this record, I felt like I was just going for it and the band was playing with a lot of confidence -- and at the same time felt confident and free to let it all hang out."
The sentence in bold is brilliant.
One could add : but add a few arty effects and everyone will think that you're a smart guy, and feel smart themselves to be able to appreciate this kind of music.
Mean no offense, but sometimes there's a sort of postulate on this forum that experimental = good and simple, straightforward = no worthy of interest.
I'm not so sure, although I like some experimental stuff otherwise "Rock Bottom" wouldn't be my #2 album of all time.
And I also have to say that if "Sky Blue Sky" is so good (whatever the f... critics say) it's because it follows "A Ghost Is Born", a rather empty and arty record IMO except for a couple of songs.
What's interesting with Wilco is that you never can tell what they're gonna do next.
Wow, I can't believe there's so much love for Sky Blue Sky. I'm arguably the biggest Wilco fan on this site, and I think it's absolute garbage save one great song, and two or three okay ones.
I always felt Wilco was at their best when they were subverting the classics they grew up on. When they play it straight (A.M., Sky Blue Sky) They're a fairly generic band. They are at their best hen they branch out, and cross pollinate their folk and country influences with psychedelic, new wave, punk, noise, and kraut-rock.
To me saying Sky Blue Sky is better than A Ghost is Born or Summerteeth is like saying Pablo Honey is better than Kid A or In Rainbows.
Christgau on Sky Blue Sky: "Tweedy stops soundscaping and resumes songwriting."
i, for one, am very glad that tweedy seems to have grown out of his infatuation w/ that post-rock pussy jim o'rourke...
Wilco knows how to play well whether or not they're being experimental, but when they're not, they're just 'competent standard'.
Some bands can play standard music exceptionally, for instance, The Band. Wilco plays standard music competently, and experimental music exceptionally.
It's all about the melodies. I think the only time they managed really good melodies was on YHF.
Why on hell do you call that standard music ? This fucking American dichotomy of mainstream vs alternative just ruined music and critic.
People can't appreciate mellow or straightforward music without guilt.
I somewhat agree with nicolas on this one, the 'experimental' parts of YHF very nearly ruined it for me, and Sky Blue Sky is easily among the best Wilco work. That said, I've never been a huge fan, but here's my short Wilco analysis (which is likely to be both unreliable and unwanted).
Being There: Double album, as almost always a bad choice, but also some of the greatest melodies Tweedy ever wrote. 'Standard' and 'simple', maybe, but the best. Easily their best album if I were to select 9-10 songs, now: 7.7
Summerteeth: Mostly a solid continuation of Being There, but the overall quality is better. Stylistically a little more towards YHF, and the emergence of the noise such as the end of A Shot In The Arm alone makes the score go down by at least 0.1-0.2 points. Overall though, probably the best stuff they've done, so: 8.0
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: More uneven, and more random noise for the sake of noise, but its highs are spectacular: 7.8
A Ghost is Born: Wildly uneven and overly noisy: 6.6
Sky Blue Sky: Back to the basics, not something they do particularly better than anyone else the genre, but it's good fun to listen to: 7.8
Wilco (The Album): Meh, a little uninspired: 7.2
As you can imagine I'm very surprised by the enormous amount of praise heaped upon YHF. I think their run from Being There to YHF is simply pretty solid all around.
I'll listen to the new album soon.
Double Post. Apologies.
I could go down a laundry list of recent unexperimental music I like. Gillian Welch, Miranda Lambert, Josh T Pearson. All these country artists have something in common: They know how to inject emotional power into fairly straightforward songs. Wilco's strength is not emotional power, it's their songwriting and raw musicianship. That kind of music is not going to interest me as much if they're not exploring their sound as much as they used to.
And Nicolas, you're entitled to your opinion, but I resent your implication that people who disagree with you are putting on airs.
Great thread/debate. I don't feel passionate enough about Wilco to contribute, so I'll stay on the fence.
I'm listening to their new album at the moment and enjoying it. I'd be surprised if it doesn't make the top 10 in our poll at the end of the year.
I agree there's no reason to be snobbish about music. I was really into the indie critical faves for a while, but lately I've gotten a little tired of that and spread out to other particular things.
I think some of it has to do with the fact that most people who are into indie music started out listening to pop music, and when they got tired of pop music they were still continuously subjected to it against their will. In my old job it was like "Do I really have to listen to this obnoxiously disingenuous Michael Buble song every single day?"
For me now, there are several particular things that can attract me to music. The energy, noise, and raw emotion attracts me to post-punk, the beats and melody attract me to dance-pop, the lyricism attracts me to people like Bob Dylan and Sufjan Stevens, the instrumental parts attract me to more rootsy music, the wildly unusual textured melodies attract me to Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors, the idiosyncratic emotional theater attracts me to people like Tom Waits and Lou Reed, or indie stuff like The National or TVOTR. But, it has to hit one of those things for me to like it.
The one older Wilco hits is the 'Idiosyncratic emotional theater', and newer Wilco is not idiosyncratic, so it no longer hits it. Parts of it hit the 'instrumental parts', but not consistently. They pulled themselves out of the indie niche into one less specific and less to their strength.
I've heard it once and it could be a good reconciliation album for the various factions. For once my favorite song is the 1st one, it is both experimental and rootsy, one of the best songs they ever made. The rest is more «standard» stuffs and the album tends to lose its breath in the end, but it is a good and varied effort. Wilco's musiv encompasses a wide array of genres and eras, and that's what I like with them. I'd give the album a 8 rating (out of 10)
You're welcome Dan !
Don't change your tastes ! I second every word you wrote in yr post.
And bravo for not giving in to your inner guilt and censorship
I'm on my cellphone so I won't be very long but I also realized that my love for Hotel California was suspect but it made my list anyway
Loving straightforward music and not being true to yrself whataver people think wouldn't make any sense, would it ?
That doesn't mean of course that the others are not true to themselves, don't make me say what I haven't said (cautious now
Just saw this thread and read some interesting posts.
Heard the new album about 10 times now, and it's pretty good "standard" music. 4 stars for the moment