Let's all stop with the history lessons and stand in awe; Wilco (The Album) requires none of Wilco's former achievements to stand on both of its' legs. Even after adjusting their sound ever so slightly, probably due to the ever-changing line-up, Wilco still sounds like the force of domination it's been since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But something lurks beneath the surface of all the familiar electric guitar plucking, Tweedy resonating breakdowns. Something progressive and interesting, beckoning multiple listens to satisfy curiosity. It's something like a cohesive view of itself; after all, Wilco spent 15 years spinning around it's own center just to land here. So let's explore.
The details are in the songs themselves. The way "Deeper Down" starts and stops, simple at first and cathartically layered by the denouement, suggests the kind of building Wilco does throughout the album. It's a combination of sonic exploration and musical integrity; each pluck is executed with extreme precision, beckoning analysis of almost every motion by the bands versatile instrumentals. Wilco manages to embody a sort of alternative Americana in its lyrical presence, homage to so-called "classic rock," while destroying notions of it entirely. "Bull Black Nova" does this with poise. The insistent piano riff, coupled with Tweedy's cries of "not gonna' fall" lend themselves to the drifting reverberated guitar pushed on top, jumps from feel to feel, ultimately culminating into a series of combinations only possible by Wilco.
Maturity usually leads to reservation, but in Wilco's case, it leads to crafting controlled emotional chaos. There is little to no restraint in the explorations of Wilco (The Album), especially in the first few cuts. But by "Everlasting Everything," we hear the barebones base of the whole lot sculpted on the record, a strong vocal riff akin to Fleetwood Mac, a sweet piano line simple but compelling, and a construction devoid of organized breakdown, still subconsciously twitching with fervor.
Perhaps it's all quaintly condensed into "Wilco (The Song)." Tweedy gently chugs along with the tune, beckoning and romancing the listener; "Wilco, Wilco will love you baby." Even through tough times, the band proclaims its loyalty to open ears, a bond which could be applied to almost every song here containing a straightforward exploration of relationships. I think "You And I" puts it best: "You and I/ we might be strangers/ however close we get sometimes/ its like we never met." Wilco reminds us that each time we let them in, they'll sound a little different. "When the words we use sometimes/ are misconstrued," probably in reference to fans and critics attempting to decode some of the bands more cryptic lyrics. And finally: "oh I don't wanna' know/ and you/ don't need/ to know/ that much/ about me." Sometimes, Wilco plays it simpler than it seems. We don't need to know much. All we need to do is listen. - joe puglisi