Written on 10/10/2011 by Jacob Morrison • 4 Comments


'The Whole Love' Album Review
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Wilco have been in existence for seventeen years, permanent members Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt working with various line-ups since 1994. They’ve collected 5 Grammy nominations and fans including Norah Jones and Counting Crows. I was aware of none of this when I sat down to listen to their latest, “The Whole Love”, which led to an interesting research session afterwards and the feeling that I must have missed something. Maybe I should go back and give it another listen, I thought. Maybe it was just me? Then I remembered that the final track was 12 minutes long and had overstayed its welcome by at least 8 of them and I just couldn’t do it.


It had all started so well. The opener, “Art of Almost” was full of DJ Shadow-like cut up beats and orchestral swirls before ending in a heads-down prog-rock wig-out. Fantastic! Then there was  “I might” which sounded like the Doors doing a Motown cover. I was still coasting on the enthusiasm generated by the opener so I didn’t get too depressed about that. Sadly it was all downhill from there. The poppier tracks that followed were generally 60s-flavoured psychedelia, derivative but mercifully short. The ballads badly exposed Tweedy’s voice, a drone lacking the range, character or expression to bring to life the country-tinged Americana that infuses the quieter parts of the album. The lyrics throughout were so banal and simplistic Noel Gallagher might have thought twice about using them. They even had a stab at a showtune, “Capitol City” trying to sound like Cole Porter but ending up simply sounding poor.That left “One Sunday Morning” and the endurance trial of Tweedy singing “Oh but its long” over the same four chords for 12 minutes. I agreed with him completely. Maybe I did miss something, maybe more Grammys will come their way, and if Norah Jones were to moan “Oh but it’s long” for 12 minutes it might provoke an entirely different reaction. The reaction I did have was to turn it off and reach for “Flaws” by Bombay Bicycle Club. It must be just me.

Wilco Website


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4 Responses to Wilco

  1. PeaklandWilcoFan

    What a load of bunk! Wilco are simply one of the best American alternative rock bands around who draw influence from a variety of sources and continue to develop and mature with every album release. True some albums are better than others but The Whole Love is up there with a Ghost is Born and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Suggest you re-evaluate when you’re not itching to put another album on and perhaps take the time to watch Jeff Tweedy Live in the Pacific Northwest to understand a little more about the man.

  2. Chester Whelks

    I can relate. Wilco are one of those bands I’ve just never been able to get into (bought ‘Being There’) – despite Universal praise for Tweedy as one of Indie’s greatest songwriters. His collaborative efforts with Jim O’Rourke in the guise of ‘Loose Fur’ have however given me a glimpse into what it is he’s revered for, and from what I’ve heard from this latest offering, its possible I might just be starting to get it. But if Bombay Bicycle Club are your thing, you’ll probably never make it here.

  3. PeaklandWilcoFan

    @Chester Whelks. Being There is an early album of Mid West Rock/ Alt Country reflecting Tweedy’s earlier career in Uncle Tupelo and Wilco’s first album AM. The next Album Summerteeth saw considerable changes and a move toward Indie Rock which was fully developed in Yankee Hotel Foxtrot -this album was mixed by Jim O’Rourke and produced around the Loose Fur period. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is probably some of Wilco’s best material and worth a listen.

  4. ChesterWhelks

    @PeaklandWilcoFan Since writing this comment I really grew to liking this album, and mean to check out some of their earlier stuff. ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, obviously is spoken-of with great reverence. Will definitely check it out. ‘A Ghost is Born’ is another one friends have spoken very highly of.

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