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Wilco - Cruel Country - New Album


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From the Wilco Store link (https://wilcostore.com/products/cruel-country-digital-download):

 

The dynamic Chicago rock band Wilco returns with its 12th studio album, the first of its kind. Cruel Country is the band's exploration of the genre they've often been defined by but, until now, never fully embraced. The double album features 21 Jeff Tweedy-penned tracks, made almost entirely of live takes, created with all six members together in The Loft for the first time since the 2011 release The Whole Love.

 

 

I'll never judge an album by one song, nor do I think it is a good idea to have expectations of an album. It just sets one up for disappointment. I think it is much better to go in without any preconceived notions about an album as a whole and not compare it to any other album. Just listen to it for what it is.

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I'm having a complicated reaction to this album that seems to be rooted in competing sensors and expectations. Most of all, I respond to Wilco's multifaceted muse; I love both chaotic and folksy

So, thoughts on the album - it's a bit on the long side:   I'll be upfront and say that I'm simply thankful for Cruel Country because it's given us "Country Song Upside Down". When this land

It's hard to express how deeply I love this new album and can't wait to hear it at Solid Sound. I've been hoping Wilco would do a "country" album for a long time, but the direction of the past three m

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46 minutes ago, Madcap said:

So if I want to buy a vinyl copy I'm going to have to essentially purchase the album twice (digital and LP) unless I just wait until the actual record comes out?  Lame.

I'm confused about that. I will definitely want some physical version of the album. I don't want to have to pay twice. There should be some sort of credit if you purchase the pre-sale digital download but there is nothing to that effect on the website

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7 minutes ago, worldrecordplayer said:

I'm confused about that. I will definitely want some physical version of the album. I don't want to have to pay twice. There should be some sort of credit if you purchase the pre-sale digital download but there is nothing to that effect on the website

 

I agree.  I will already be paying twice for the CD and the LP whenever they're available.  For someone like me, who doesn't have an MP3 player (and I realize I'm an outlier), the fact that this album won't be available in physical form until some date to be determined puts a big damper on this news.  I guess I will hear these songs at Solid Sound and then not again for a while.

 

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https://www.jambase.com/article/wilco-new-album-cruel-country-single

 

from the ashes alert, but more context from Jeff/band on the release.

 

“there have been elements of Country music in everything we’ve ever done,” frontman and guitarist Jeff Tweedy said. “We’ve never been particularly comfortable with accepting that definition, the idea that I was making Country music. But now, having been around the block a few times, we’re finding it exhilarating to free ourselves within the form, and embrace the simple limitation of calling the music we’re making Country.”

 

Tweedy also commented on the live approach to recording. “It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise,” he said. “But when it’s working the way it’s supposed to, it feels like gathering around some wild collective instrument, one that requires six sets of hands to play.”

The title Cruel Country works on so many levels and the album as a whole serves as “a loose conceptual narrative on the history of the United States,” press materials for the LP noted. “It isn’t always direct and easy to spot, but there are flashes of clarity,” Tweedy continued. “It’s all mixed up and mixed in, the way my personal feelings about America are often woven with all of our deep collective myths. Simply put, people come and problems emerge. Worlds collide. It’s beautiful. And cruel. The specifics of an American identity begin to blur for me as the record moves toward the light and opens itself up to more cosmic solutions—coping with fear, without belonging to any nation or group other than humanity itself.”

 

For Jeff, country music is a good vehicle for him to navigate the problems facing the country, as he explained:

More than any other genre, Country music, to me, a white kid from middle-class middle America, has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind—which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States. And because it is the country I love, and because it’s Country music that I love, I feel a responsibility to investigate their mirrored problematic natures. I believe it’s important to challenge our affections for things that are flawed.

Country music is simply designed to aim squarely at the low-hanging fruit of the truth. If someone can sing it, and it’s given a voice… well, then it becomes very hard not to see. We’re looking at it. It’s a cruel country, and it’s also beautiful. Love it or leave it. Or if you can’t love it, maybe you’ve already left.

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23 minutes ago, worldrecordplayer said:

I'm confused about that. I will definitely want some physical version of the album. I don't want to have to pay twice. There should be some sort of credit if you purchase the pre-sale digital download but there is nothing to that effect on the website

That's exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking about that would be nice.  I don't care if I have to wait for a while for the vinyl, but at least let me pre-order it off bandcamp or something so I get the download.

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7 minutes ago, nalafej said:

Pitchfork's article has a 'band' pic I haven't seen before - no Mikael though??

 

https://pitchfork.com/news/wilco-announce-new-album-cruel-country-share-new-song-falling-apart-right-now-listen/

 

As always, Pitchfork sucks.

 

Variety has the full set of pictures: https://variety.com/2022/music/news/wilco-cruel-country-albumjeff-tweedy-1235243350/?fbclid=IwAR1I2e5tZ31PseMS7Fh2gVehrxgJISEhS6qgPPsMTIHNoj5CQP7HpXUGiag

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On 4/28/2022 at 1:33 AM, cherryghost94 said:

Hey y'all, I put together a playlist with all of the new album songs that Jeff has already played on the tweedy show: Wilco - Cruel Country Playlist

 

There have been a few demos/first drafts released on Starship Casual as well, for those who subscribe. There's a pretty well fleshed out full-band demo of Story to Tell, which I'd have to say is my early pick for favorite song on the album.

 

If anyone sees a song from the track list that I'm missing on the playlist, let me know and I'll add it!

There are quite a few more songs out there, but I don’t think anyone has extracted them from their episode to make a YouTube video.
 

I Am My Mother (episode 206)

All Across The World (episodes 169/179)

Tired Of Taking It Out On You (episode 213: Live At Largo)

The Universe (episodes 154/170/196: Live At Mass MoCa) [Paul Suwan said that this song was titled Say It Plain at the time of the Mass MoCa performance, according to the printed setlist.] 

 

edit: David Handelman pointed out to me that I had All Across The World listed as In The Hurricane’s Eye on my episode 169 recap. Thank you!

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I haven't seen all the new songs Jeff has debuted on the Tweedy Show, etc., but there was one that really impressed me a while back called "Sunlight's End." I really thought that would be a great Wilco track, but it doesn't appear to be on the list for CC. For all the dedicated Tweedy Show followers, anyone think there's a chance that one's on here under a different name?

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Heh, heh - Glenn still looks like he's 25.

 

Something that came to mind about the overtly countri-fied pitch with this one is that - to my mind - there will hopefully be a lot more for Pat (and even Mikael) to do. Aside from the muted vocal delivery on the last two records, something that irked me a little about Schmilco and Ode To Joy was the lack of more fleshed out arrangements with some prominent guitar and keys counterpointing and harmonising the songs. Both Pat and Mikael can play and do really interesting things and I just feel like their roles had been diminished somewhat by the whole quietly-quieter aesthetic on the last two albums.

 

If Pat's had a hand in the production that would be great too. I think back to his contributions to Robyn Hitchcock's self-titled album from 2017 and it worked wonders.

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1 hour ago, DiamondClaw said:

I haven't seen all the new songs Jeff has debuted on the Tweedy Show, etc., but there was one that really impressed me a while back called "Sunlight's End." I really thought that would be a great Wilco track, but it doesn't appear to be on the list for CC. For all the dedicated Tweedy Show followers, anyone think there's a chance that one's on here under a different name?

Oh, it’s extremely possible. There were a lot of songs that didn’t have any titles at all and any of them could be on Cruel Country. Or any song that Jeff titled on the show could have changed names by now.
 

I’ll have to sift through them and look at the song titles that aren’t accounted for to see if any words or phrases pop out, when I listen to them. 
 

Tunnel At The End Of The Light is another one that was great, but doesn’t appear to be on the new record. Not familiar enough with it to think of other wordings that it could be named under. 
 

Yeah, Sunlight’s End was a classic one. I seem to recall that one being debuted at Danny’s front porch on their Los Angeles trip. 

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3 hours ago, DiamondClaw said:

...there was one that really impressed me a while back called "Sunlight's End." I really thought that would be a great Wilco track...

 

I agree. Really beautiful. Fingers crossed it is in fact on the record.

 

I'm intrigued by the loose concept of the album. Jeff discussing America & country music is interesting. Particularly love Jeff's quote: " I believe it’s important to challenge our affections for things that are flawed."

 

Regarding the 1st album single, really dig the country twang sound.

 

 

 

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On 4/28/2022 at 11:14 AM, Brian F. said:

 

I agree.  I will already be paying twice for the CD and the LP whenever they're available.  For someone like me, who doesn't have an MP3 player (and I realize I'm an outlier), the fact that this album won't be available in physical form until some date to be determined puts a big damper on this news.  I guess I will hear these songs at Solid Sound and then not again for a while.

 

 

My assumption is this, shortly after the release this will be available on all the streaming platforms (Spotify, AppleMusic, YouTube Music, etc.).  So I fairly certain there is no need to buy the Digital Download.  My plan is to buy the vinyl copy when it is available and stream or whatnot until I get my hands on that glorious disc.   

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16 minutes ago, KevinG said:

 

My assumption is this, shortly after the release this will be available on all the streaming platforms (Spotify, AppleMusic, YouTube Music, etc.).  So I fairly certain there is no need to buy the Digital Download.  My plan is to buy the vinyl copy when it is available and stream or whatnot until I get my hands on that glorious disc.   

 

Yes, I assumed it will be available for streaming immediately upon release, but I don't have a streaming subscription.  There are multiple reasons for this, but one of them is that I don't have a convenient way to listen to streaming music.  I would have to sit at my desk and listen to it on my desktop computer.

 

I completely understand that not having an MP3 player and not having a streaming subscription are choices I made and that I could choose differently.  I'm not faulting the band for their approach to the release.  I was just noting that, for the outliers like me, the news of an imminent album release is dampened a bit by the realization that it will be a bit longer before I'm able to listen to the album every day like I would usually do with a new Wilco album.

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The title song is hauntingly gorgeous. Some of Jeff's prettiest vocals ever and I love John & Pat's backing vocals. Maybe Mikael's too? That swell of voices in the chorus had me going back to listen over and over, mentally teasing the voices and instruments apart. :wub

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