2 Wilco - The Whole Love

This ain't your dad's Wilco album. From the very first pulses of "Art of Almost" you think that this might be different Wilco. Glenn Kotche stutters. John Stirratt is a maniac. After Nels Cline is finished assaulting your eardrums, you're sure of it.

With the analog/electronica lead track faded, The Whole Love becomes a more familiar Wilco, albeit a damn fine one. They leave no stone unturned, and each track is stronger than the last. From the Costello-esque single "I Might" to the Pink Floyd morning hangover of "Sunloathe" to the blasting "Standing O," Wilco pull out all the stops.

This is a very unique album, one, because Wilco is so great, and two, because they can do anything. Each song is so different and carefully arranged, and each brings a different mood to the listener. "Black Moon" is about as good an acoustic ballad as they've ever done. It makes you feel as lonesome as Jeff Tweedy sounds. "Born Alone" is isolation in a pop package and the ending is a furious spiral of musical scales you always wish you could write, but never could finish.
"Open Mind" seems like a romantic breath of fresh air; an intermission of sorts.

On the vinyl version, side B is kicked off by the title track, a stalking stomp with a catchy groove and great lyrics. It always amazes me how Wilco can make three guitars come across without crowding the mix, and "The Whole Love" is proof. That said, I prefer the sequencing of the compact disc, with the title track second to last. That's how I heard it first.

The strongest song on the album, in my opinion is also the most challenging. "Capitol City" meanders along like a Summerteeth b-side before becoming a Beatles-esque waltz. The instrumentation are downright perfect, the key changes give you goosebumps, and the backing vocals of chorus two are fantastic. The last track on the album, "One Sunday Morning," is a quiet account of a private conversation, twelve minutes in length. Only a Bob Dylan fan like Jeff could pull it off. It's soft, delicate, and wise, and sure doesn't feel like twelve minutes.

The Whole Love is Wilco's third album with the current lineup, and it seems Jeff Tweedy has finally found his men. Interesting side note, according to Jeff, "The Whole Love" is what detectives say when they are about to get a full confession. I confess myself impressed.

Download: "Art of Almost" - "Capitol City" - "The Whole Love"