This new Wilco album kicks ass. They’ve been favorites of mine since growing up outside St. Louis and falling in love in high school with Uncle Tupelo. I was very poor back in med school and Kari and I couldn’t afford much, so we went to see a Jeff Tweedy performance in Chicago for our honeymoon. It was the first Loose Fur show where Jeff met, and first performed with, Jim O’Rourke. It was also where Jim introduced Jeff to Glenn Kotche, who subsequently became the drummer for Wilco.
I talked to Jeff a few years later and told him that we went on our honeymoon to see him in Chicago. He looked at me and said with a true-to-life Tweedy smirk “And you guys are still together?”
Wise beyond those years Jeff…
Ceci n’est pas une “Wilco (The Song)”. Or is it? What is Wilco? A band? An album? A song? Country-rock? Pop? Avant-folk? Challenging? Comforting? Shards of migraine paranoia? The Russian doll gimmickry of Wilco releasing Wilco (The Album) with “Wilco (The Song)” as its opening track is more than a Magritte goof. In fact, it’s the opposite. After 15 years, more casting switch-ups than “E.R.”, myths, pills, classics, covers, and a little krautrock, this is Wilco. This is their song.
On 1996’s Being There, Jeff Tweedy sang, “I can’t tell you anything you don’t already know/ I keep on trying, I should just let it go,” on a song called “Someone Else’s Song”. “Wilco (The Song)” is the sound of him letting it go. This band is its own Bible now. “Are you under the impression this isn’t your life/ Do you dabble in depression?” Tweedy sings here, engaging in a savvy out-of-body experience. It’s a little shaggy, a little sincere, a little smirking, a lot Wilco. “Wilco will love you, baby.” Not so much a testament to the power of Wilco (The Band) as much as a testament to Wilco (The Entity), Wilco (The Sound), and Wilco (The Dad-Rocking Dudes Who Are Totally Cool With That Now, Thanks).