Wilco (The Album)

I’ve heard in recent years the term “dad rock” associated with Wilco’s music (psst … I don’t think it’s a compliment). But before Wilco starts getting mentioned in the same breath as Bread or Steely Dan, let’s remember that Jeff Tweedy is an incredibly gifted songwriter whose voice is unmatched for squeezing out every last drop of emotion. As with 2007’s Sky Blue Sky, Wilco (The Album) might not immediately grab you, save for the album’s lead—the tongue-in-cheek “Wilco (The Song)”—where Tweedy declares that “Wilco will love you, baby.” It’s the band’s bounciest number since “Heavy Metal Drummer” off their masterstroke Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Tension swells on “Bull Black Nova,” a frantic murder tale driven by a pulsing guitar line that crashes to pieces by song’s end. From there it’s pretty straightforward, while the production is placid throughout. But “Country Disappeared” and “You and I” (a duet with Feist) are good examples of how pretty it can be in the hands of Tweedy and Co. Maybe it is dad rock—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that—but when Tweedy offers “a sonic shoulder for you to cry on” in the band’s namesake song, you can’t help but believe that Wilco truly does love you.