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“I been young, I been old/I been hurt and consoled/Heart of cold, heart of gold/so I'm told” — “Dawned on Me”

The opening line of “Dawned on Me” summarizes Wilco's eighth studio album, on which you hear every era of Wilco — the morose Beach Boys pop of Summerteeth, the haunting chrome starkness of Ghost Is Born, the ambient headphone sparkle of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the sonic bombast of Being There — as well as weighted steps into a positive future.

Opening track “Art of Almost” races out of the gate, swinging with raw atmospheric intensity. The drums are hypnotic, keys and strings crescendo giving to a sharp emptiness, anchoring the simplicity of Jeff Tweedy's relaxed vocal. With engaging drum patterns and an all-or-nothing dynamic, the band swirls complexities around the slow pulse of the lyrics. By the midpoint of this seven-minute opening number, they unleash guitarist Nels Cline into a frenzy of sonic acrobatics. This first song is a statement, it eclipses any preconceived limitations for where Wilco's sound can stray.

“I Might” has the feel of the Velvets on a rare, good-mood sunny day, and even in its sparse pop context, there is layer upon layer of glitchy nuance and ambiance. On “Rising Red Lung,” The band strips down to haunting finger picking, a ghostly slide, and a tremolo guitar reverbed into the distance. Layers are added, but it maintains the emptiness of an early-morning desert highway.

The closing track is a sprawling, poetic 12-minute number that ends with the meandering interplay of Wilco's best lineup to date, conversing through the subtleties of their prowess on another great record.

  • Album: The Whole Love
  • Artist: Wilco
  • Label: dBpm Records
  • Songs: 1. “Art of Almost” 2. “I Might” 3. “Sunloathe” 4. “Dawned on Me” 5. “Black Moon” 6. “Born Alone” 7. “Open Mind” 8. “Capitol City” 9. “Standing O” 10. “Rising Red Lung” 11. “Whole Love” 12. “One Sunday Morning”
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