Jump to content

Wilco - Cruel Country - New Album


Recommended Posts

The ability to form feelings from a written description of something you haven’t directly experienced is an admirable trait.  It’s why humans are able to enjoy fiction books.

 

There’s nothing wrong with reading a review and expecting, based on what that review says, that you won’t like the thing being reviewed.  That’s precisely what a review is for.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 219
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Posted Images

^ To each their own etc etc al, but when it comes to enjoyment of music by an artist I'm invested in the criticism might only be as good as fiction. What's the quote: "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture"?

 

Anyhow I might have been more blustery than was necessary. I know fighting with strangers about music isn't what anyone is here for, so apologies if I made it turn in that direction. Obviously everyone can and will read and listen on their own terms to their heart's content.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Not given to long posts (or posting much at all!), but I have to come in here and say how much I already love this record. There's so much depth to the songs here, plus great instrumental touches. An earlier post compared Wilco's latter-day trajectory to those of Neil Young and Bob Dylan. In Neil's case, sad to say, his best days are long behind him, whilst Bob continues to hit peak after peak, albeit by refining an established style, working within limitations (voice) and still creating lyrically.. Wilco are on a similar track to Bob, in my opinion, confirmed by Cruel Country. I don't expect Wilco to innovate these days, and, I suspect, if they consciously attempted to do so, it might sound forced and inauthentic, somehow. Cruel Country is all about subtle instrumental variation, lyrical depth and an invitation to the listener to give themselves 80 minutes to immerse themselves in its 21 songs. 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey VC’ers - coming out of hibernation again because, well… It’s Album Time!

Cruel Country, ain’t it? Some of us are just hearing the record for the first time today. Others are probably waiting for various reasons (like SSF - jealous!). I, like others yet, have been listening to this record for about a week and finally have some thoughts formed on it. It’s always tough to succinctly express the range of emotions I feel when a new Wilco record gets announced/rolled-out/released/ahem..reviewed/etc. but it’s still fun to share takeaways with people who are still deeply invested in this band <3


I’ll start with some context - I’m one of those Wilco fans who genuinely likes the drone in Less Than You Think, vastly prefers the little-folk-ditties when they are augmented by wilder sonic landscapes + noises, and generally prefers about a 5:1 ratio of surprising/abrasive songs to the, like, comfort songs. If I had it my way, Jim O’Rourke would’ve continued engineering + mixing every Wilco record ever for all of recorded time (love that guy). I’m also a Day 1 Starship Casual subscriber and more broadly speaking, just really really grateful Jeff + the band have been healthy and happy enough to be able to continue making quality records together for this long.

So with all that said, the prospect of a return-to-roots country record was honestly a little disappointing when I first heard the announcement. I like country music just fine, and love a lot of it — especially cosmic country, Bakersfield-y stuff, and tears-in-your-beers records from the mid-to-late 20th Century. But if I’m totally honest, after the last couple years I was really hoping to see Wilco continue the creative trajectory of OTJ, which I and many others viewed as a sort of return-to-form and raved about on this board when it first came out. The band using the studio as an instrument and playing with mood + texture as their primary tools felt exciting again and there was an intensity, drama and urgency to the compositions and production that I hadn’t felt in a long while.

Obviously so so much has changed in the intervening years though, so I wasn’t really *expecting* much continuity I guess. The world is so fucked up that the warm blanket of simple songs makes sense to me on a lot of levels. I’ve read most all the interviews in the lead up to release day today, and so I get where this record and these songs are coming from and why they were necessary for the band at this moment in time. It also just feels pointless to talk more about what I *wish* it was, and there seems to be this weird vague feeling of disappointment hanging over this record, both from fans and professional reviewers alike (who, don’t forget, are sometimes one in the same), and I think that’s just too bad, because Cruel Country is a good record.

It’s got some great lyrics and playing, really beautiful moments, and a ton of songs that have gotten stuck in my head - which I have been singling out and going back to. I’ve never done this before, but I did that thing where you make a playlist of what you deem to be the “essential” tracks. That maybe tells you a bit of what I think about Cruel Country as a whole. If you’re still reading + interested, here’s what I’ve got (mostly keeping the sequencing the same as the actual release):

Cruel County (Lean & Mean Version)

1. Cruel Country
2. Hints
3. The Empty Condor
4. Tonight’s the Day
5. Darkness is Cheap
6. Bird Without a Tail / Base of My Skull
7. Tired of Taking It Out On You
8. Many Worlds
9. Country Song Upside-down
10. Mystery Binds
11. Sad Kind of Way
12. Story to Tell

At 12 songs and 49 minutes, this playlist feels like a record’s worth of really-good-to-great songs to me, but I’ll never ever complain about having more Wilco songs so I take the actual full record for what it is :) 

I love this band and I always will.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, martynep said:

Cruel Country is all about subtle instrumental variation, lyrical depth and an invitation to the listener to give themselves 80 minutes to immerse themselves in its 21 songs. 

Good take here, and I also agree with the comparisons to Jeff's solo albums. I've only listened through the album once, and I know there's a lot to immerse in and am looking forward to it.

 

But... I will admit to being a little disappointed that there isn't more country in the album. Take these thoughts with a grain of salt, since I've only had one listen. But calling this a country album kind of forces me to say that Jeff's solo albums are also "country," and that a lot of the more mellow Wilco songs over the past 10+ years are also "country." Maybe that's ok? But it doesn't feel right to me for whatever reason.

 

I'm not totally sure what I expect from a Wilco "country" song. There are all sorts of directions country can go that I like, and that I think cross over with Wilco's talents really well: more twang, more pedal steel, more story-telling lyrics in the front (like John Prine), more acoustic guitar and story-telling singing (like Townes). There are a few songs that hit those elements, and I love them, but there are a lot of songs, especially I think in the first half, that are more like traditional mellow Wilco songs, requiring focus and immersion to really appreciate and keep from fading into the background.

 

Maybe we're better off with 6 to 10 "country" songs mixed in with a dozen or so mellow Wilco songs, opening up the next album to focus on whatever else the band is doing these days?

 

Again, this is a quick take after one listen. I'm enough of a fan to not let my first listen to govern anything. This is getting a lot of listens from me and I'm looking forward to see where they take me! I'm just super happy to have another Wilco album to spend time with and think about.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just listened to the album from start to finish and I''m honestly blown away. I didn't expect to love it.  I thought I'd feel similar to the last few albums. I'd love some songs, skip others, lament about Jeff's love of dead guitar strings (yes, I still hear them on CC but it works for some reason), how it felt more like another Tweedy solo album, etc., etc.   Most surprising is just how beautiful it is...I don't know if I've ever said that about a Wilco record. 

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Only a couple listens. Perhaps a tiny bit underwhelmed overall, but yet I really do like lot of it. Three selfish gripes:

 

1. Wish "Sunlight's End" woulda made the record.

 

2. I prefer Spencer & Jeff's looser, acoustic version of "Hearts Hard To Find" from the Tweedy Show...particularly how Spencer's percussion keeps the song bouncing along.

 

3. I've long hoped Jeff's great sense of humor could be sprinkled into a Wilco album just one time. 

 

Look forward to listening to "Cruel Country" more over the summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The album's really, really good (more thoughts later) and I'm watching the live stream from Solid Sound from here in little old Adelaide, SA. These live renditions really bring some of the more subdued songs to life. 

 

Can we also please have a round for Pat? His playing on this album and on stage at Solid Sound is nothing short of brilliant.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

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 landed behind the paywall on Starship Casual, I must have listened to it repeatedly on a loop for at least 30 times. For me, it's one of the most beautiful, perfect songs that Wilco's ever recorded. I remember hearing it and being astonished. Everything about it is perfect: its length, lyrics, delivery, the instrumentation. A world within a world within two-and-a-half-minutes. That instrumentation: the acoustic 12-string, lap steel, Mellotron..the rhythm section...John's bass playing is sympathic to the roll and cadence of the song, but so expressive at the same time. And then there's Glenn playing, which is very understated, but - like so much of his playing - with so much going on. The part with the line "this is the gist.." and everything surrounding it is just pure beauty. I have to watch myself with it, because I can feel the tears swelling. I could write an essay about this one song, it's meaning/symbolism and what sounds like it's DNA - specifically "Ballad of Easy Rider" by The Byrds from the 1969 album of the same name. 

 

 

To my ears, Cruel Country sounds so influenced by the late era Byrds (1969-1972.) I know there's more to it, but I just can't shake the idellible influence of the 12-string jangle, percussion, loping basslines, orchestral touches, perculiar ambiences and the unmistakable sound of a Parsons-White* B-bender emulating a pedal steel. Oh, Clarence White. These albums by The Byrds weren't perfect, but at their best (and even their worst) they featured top-tier musicians and artists honing their own interpretation of what they thought country music was: an erratic blend of rock'n'roll, folk, pop, psychedelia and 'traditional' country music. Another significant factor is that these albums (Ballad of Easy RiderUntitledByrdmaniax, Farther Along) arrived at a tumultuous time in American culture and history. 1969-1971 was iffy; in 2022, things are in a real state.

 

So, I suppose that's why I see such a strong correlation between this era of The Byrds and what Wilco's accomplished with Cruel Country. At 21 songs, it's a unweildy, slightly padded collection, but it comes with a lot of depth and flashes of beauty that are sustaining my attention and curiousity on repeated listens. It's also genuinely unsettled. I feel like Wilco haven't done something like this for awhile. As I've thought about the songs on this album, I started thinking about the collection of outtakes and sketches on the CD that accompanied the 2004 Wilco Book. An example from Cruel Country: "The Empty Condor" shouldn't even really be a song; it's so broken, sick and wonky with it's uncertain opening, non-sequiter lyrics and wayward progression, but somehow it works. Its form and dissonance reminds me a bit of "Common Sense" from Schmilco, but whereas that song felt forced and a little contrived, "The Empty Condor" - in it's own broken way - comes across as something far more genuine. 

 

Thinking about the other songs, I think that having all six members in one place to record these songs has made a world of difference. Whilst listening to the album on a walk to shops today, I paid particular attention to some of the room ambience (what on Earth is going on at the start of "The Empty Condor"?) and some fluffed notes. When was the last time we heard a mistimed or fluffed note on a Wilco record? Probably not since the last 'live' sessions, since everything post-The Whole Love was made up of bed tracks and overdubs from members when they were swinging by The Loft. If you've got the luxury of being in the studio alone doing your parts, then you're probably going to opt to fix a dodgy note with another take. Cutting something live with a group is different. Sure, you could fix what you perceive as a mistake, but it's often the collective feel of take that's going to mean the most. Providing of course it's not a complete disaster. I like Star WarsSchmilco and Ode To Joy for what they are, but there is a vibe of sterilty and control that felt somewhat 'off'.

 

Of the more 'conventional' songs, these are some of the best that Jeff's written in a long time. For the record, I've always had more time for Wilco's mid-tempo territory over the straight ahead rockers. I love "Kidsmoke" out and out, but I would happily take "She's A Jar", "Everlasting Everything", "One Sunday Morning", "Company In My Back" or "You Are My Face" over it any day. On Cruel Country, I think the style of songwriting that Jeff has been honing since Sukirae has been perfected: the mixture of pensive/depressed introspection, surreal imagery and dose of humour to leaven things out. Of course, that style is quintessential 'Tweedy' and has been there since whenever, but for the last ten years I feel like it's settled into an assured, mature place and comes more genuinely from the heart. Setting that songwriting against a world (and country) that is in a genuine state of peril makes certain songs like the title track, "Hints", "All Across The World", "The Universe", "Falling Apart", "Story To Tell", "Sad Kind of Way" and "Other Worlds" (oh my, *that* song) all the more powerful.

 

I won't go on too much longer, but I want to give a shout-out of appreciation to two members of the group who have felt largely sidelined since around The Whole Love: Mikael and Pat.

 

On Mikael, it's so good to hear some keyboards and sonic fairy dust right up there in the mix and - especially - piano leading off some of the tracks. I felt like Mikael was rendered almost invisible on Star WarsSchmilco and Ode To Joy, which was such a shame since some of the songs on those albums could have been much better served with some audible piano/organ or a rich texture here and there. Instead, there was thinness or a vacuum for something - to my ears - that should have been there all along. On Cruel Country, he's audibly embedded in the songs. The atmospheric touches are also a great addition to several of the songs too, especially where they take a more prominant place: the bridge of "Tired of Taking It Out On You", or filling the air in "The Universe", "The Plains" and "Other Worlds" (OH MY, *THAT* SONG.)

 

Then there's Pat. PAT SANSONE. An accomplished, brilliant musician. I am just so stoked that his guitar work has finally come to the fore on a Wilco record. I remember listening to "Falling Apart" when it dropped and thinking to myself, "Nope, both of those leads CANNOT be Nels." I listened again: "(...) that's Pat...PLAYING A B-BENDER TELECASTER...and HE IS TEARING IT UP." Then I heard more B-bender on the title track, his clear apreggios on "Tired Of Taking It Out On You", then the album comes along and the B-bender is here, there and..everywhere on the incredible outro of "Other Worlds" (...yes, that song.)  I was watching the live stream of the band performing the Cruel Country in full this morning down here in the Antipodes and I was constantly fixated on what Pat was doing. He was in his element. The jammier guitar-led passages of "Bird Without A Tail" and "Other Worlds" raised the hair on the back of my neck. It was thrilling stuff.

 

So, there's a dump of things I really like about this album. Cruel Country is certainly the most engaging and lovely record they've made in a long, long time. If this is where they want to be at this point of their remarkable career, then they've got me sold, committed and completely back in love with them and where they're at. Well done, you wonderful humans.

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great post!  I agree with your thoughts on Country Song Upside Down.  I feel the same say about Many Worlds.  I'd buy the album just to hear the last 4 min of that song....over and over and over and over.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm loving the analysis from my fellow VC'ers there's so many insights I connect with I'll try not to repeat them.

 

I think the opening run of a half dozen songs is so strong and well paced it almost feels like they'll accomplish the impossible task of running a mellow double album without a plateau of less essential material, but not quite. Tis the challenge of the form. I'm so taken by a lot of these songs that I'm not fully prepared to label the chaff.

 

I think the observation that this follows the Tweedy solo stylistic character is fair, but I'll be so bold as to suggest that if you're looking at the tender and intimate stuff from Warm(er), Love Is The King, Shmilco or even the soft points on SBS (essential title track not withstanding), the writing, arrangement and sonics of CC are superior.

 

Couple random notes:

Pat's French horn arrangement is brilliant. Glenn is hiding plenty of Easter egg/innovative/impressive drumming feats while gracefully appearing to merely do the no frills/great groove/serve the song approach. For example the clicks on top of the bass drum alternating with hi hat patterns on Tonight's the Day (Neil Young nod on that title?) that are inventive to begin with before he starts cleverly varying their phrasing as the song develops. 

 

I understand the inescapable allure of the 'edit a double album down to a single album' as a music fan, but I suspect my take might be 'edit a double album down to a shorter double album'. I need to give some of the late middle tunes in the tracklist more chances before I label any of them inferior.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hot take: I think this is another strong Wilco album in a string of 12 strong Wilco albums. 

Ok that's not really a hot take. But I do really like this record. Obviously Many Worlds and Bird Without A Tail are future classics. I think I Am My Mother is a really good opening track, as others have noted Jeff is singing like Bob Dylan but I also think the music itself is pretty reminiscent of Big Pink era Band. 

There's a lot of material here and virtually every song is at least a "like" from me. If I had any disappointments, it might be the similar tempo across the record. While I had been hoping for at least one Dreamer in My Dreams style acoustic-rocker I do think the album works without anything like that. But a few songs with the tempo of Hesitating Beauty would have added to the album. We sort of get there with A Lifetime to Find (which is another highlight, IMHO), but a few more sprinkled in or even just a bit faster than ALTF would have given the album a bit more variety while still staying true to the overall vibe of the record, IMHO.

I'm looking forward to hearing a lot of these songs live in the Dakotas this September. Hopefully a vinyl pressing can happen before the end of the year too because I really think these songs will thrive in that format.

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, I'll give this review thing a shot. I've given this record a solid thorough listen. I really, really like it. That's 2 reallys, not bad. I do feel like it's Tweedy solo 2.0, with Wilco. That makes it extra great, the guys are unreal; musicians and add so much. It does feel like it has that recent Tweedy County/Folk vibe that he's been into. I hear a lot of the same acoustic rhythm his solo records have. The whisper singing ? eh, Would I love a Summerteeth part 2 ? yes, please, but anything Wilco gives me/us, is refreshing. I did love the way it sounded live, gotta have that recording. I would listen to that over the studio release. I'm sure Jeff with get the itch to write some electric power chord songs, until then, I'm ok with this Cruel County we have, and live in.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, tongue-tied lightning said:

ok, I'll give this review thing a shot. I've given this record a solid thorough listen. I really, really like it. That's 2 reallys, not bad. I do feel like it's Tweedy solo 2.0, with Wilco. That makes it extra great, the guys are unreal; musicians and ass. so much. It does feel like it has that recent Tweedy County/Folk vibe that he's been into. I hear a lot of the same acoustic rhythm his solo records have. The whisper singing ? eh, Would I love a Summerteeth part 2 ? yes, please, but anything Wilco gives me/us, is refreshing. I did love the way it sounded live, gotta have that recording. I would listen to that over the studio release. I'm sure Jeff with get the itch to write some electric power chord songs, until then, I'm ok with this Cruel County we have, and live in.

That was a great review!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone,  long time since I posted. I really enjoy a lot of CC, if I'm totally honest I've more than heard enough of the  whispered vocals,  but there's tons to enjo I hope everyone is keeping safe and well 😊

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay. I've turned this thing over and upside down and it keeps revealing new treasures. To fully engage in critical listening I've found my short list of things that are less than in 21 songs full of excellence.

 

The Universe- doesn't click for me. The lyrics are pretty cool, but they feel a little sentimental in the delivery.

 

Many Worlds- I seem to be the only listener who is not taken by the ending jam. It doesn't bother me, but it feels just a little too on the mark of new jam band, or maybe what's not grabbed me about the more recent My Morning Jacket material. Maybe I just need to take some mushrooms when I see them at Red Rocks and do some wavy hand dances and it will all click. I can do the soaring jam of Bird Without a Tail over and over though, and I'm psyched so many people are psyched on Many Worlds, just hasn't grabbed me yet. I'm willing to give it a couple dozen more chances though.

 

Empty Condor- the instruments are so great. The vocals are very forgettable. It doesn't really matter in the arc of the album. It carries the vibe forward with some nice dark tension.

 

There. I can pick on Wilco. The rest is genius though, and I'll shake a finger at anyone who says otherwise!

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/28/2022 at 7:09 AM, Blackberry Rust said:

At 21 songs, it's a unweildy, slightly padded collection, but it comes with a lot of depth and flashes of beauty that are sustaining my attention and curiousity on repeated listens. It's also genuinely unsettled.

 

That was a great post (thank you!) that echoes a lot of my feelings about the record, including the portion I quoted above. Those flashes of beauty and weirdness keep unfolding and expanding for me. "Unsettled" is the right word. I think the whole album, taken as a large concept in which the pieces are in conversation with each other, is a magnificent project that exceeds the power of its individual parts. The title strikes me as an easy gateway: It's about country music, yes, but it's also about a country, and it's about navigating what we think we know about each.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Glenn&#x27;s Stick Bag said:

Hello everyone,  long time since I posted. I really enjoy a lot of CC, if I'm totally honest I've more than heard enough of the  whispered vocals,  but there's tons to enjo I hope everyone is keeping safe and well 😊

Nice to see another Brit here from time to time. Hope you didn't get caught up in the Paris debacle.

Shame Wilco aren't playing anything other than 1 festival in the UK this summer. It seems to be a more or less full on folk/Americana festival so the country direction would suit I suppose. (I won't be there). Maybe they'll get onto Jools Holland as it may still be running the current series at that time I hope.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoo boy, that FB group is a doozy.  There seems to be some PTSD response going on there over the fact that there isn't 100% agreement that CC is a masterpiece.  Lots of words being put in the mouths of the people who aren't won over by the record.   There's constantly someone starting a new post lambasting the underwhelmed, refusing to let it go, and then acting as if it's the underwhelmed who won't shut up about it.  Basically calling people ignorant and other insults....trespassers, meathead rockers, "You think Wilco is unworthy of you", "You think Wilco OWES you something."  I have not seen that kind of behavior from the underwhelmed directed towards those who love the album. 

 

Very bizarre and thin skinned.  Like a cult.  It's gross.  When this group was highly active some years back, I don't recall it ever getting like that (not that we didn't have disagreements or arguments)...which is weird because web forums are more anonymous than FB, so you'd think it'd be easier to devolve into flame wars here than there.  But what do I know?  

 

I haven't been won over by the album yet.  I certainly may be at some point, and I hope I will be.  My general feeling is that Wilco has been operating in a much narrower range since Schmilco than what I prefer.  But, setting my personal opinion aside, I can still hear the quality of what they are doing within that narrow range.  There's tons of interesting playing from all members of the band.  But I feel that it requires more deep focused headphone listening to uncover it than it used to. And my tinnitus is easily set off by headphones, so I much prefer listening on home stereo or car speakers. So it's gotten somewhat difficult to fully enjoy their records. 

 

Thank you for indulging my little rant.  I always enjoy reading everyone's responses when a new album comes out, and I think I have found something to agree with in each review, whether it be pro or con.

 

But I will never, ever agree that "I went through hell on the way to hell" is a good lyric.  That line is a total stinker, especially from a guy who wrote a book about lyric writing.  THAT is my one hardened and immovable opinion about the record.  If you love that line, then OK, I think that is just fine.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, jff said:

Hoo boy, that FB group is a doozy.  There seems to be some PTSD response going on there over the fact that there isn't 100% agreement that CC is a masterpiece.  Lots of words being put in the mouths of the people who aren't won over by the record.   There's constantly someone starting a new post lambasting the underwhelmed, refusing to let it go, and then acting as if it's the underwhelmed who won't shut up about it.  Basically calling people ignorant and other insults....trespassers, meathead rockers, "You think Wilco is unworthy of you", "You think Wilco OWES you something."  I have not seen that kind of behavior from the underwhelmed directed towards those who love the album. 

 

Very bizarre and thin skinned.  Like a cult.  It's gross.  When this group was highly active some years back, I don't recall it ever getting like that (not that we didn't have disagreements or arguments)...which is weird because web forums are more anonymous than FB, so you'd think it'd be easier to devolve into flame wars here than there.  But what do I know? 

 

I like the album, and I respect people's opinions that they don't like the album.

 

To jff's post, I really think the invention of social media has made people feel like their opinion is extremely important when in fact it really isn't. I would care for my friends' opinions, but I don't give a shit what a random person thinks about something I didn't make or I am not involved in.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, jff said:

Hoo boy, that FB group is a doozy.  There seems to be some PTSD response going on there over the fact that there isn't 100% agreement that CC is a masterpiece.  Lots of words being put in the mouths of the people who aren't won over by the record.   There's constantly someone starting a new post lambasting the underwhelmed, refusing to let it go, and then acting as if it's the underwhelmed who won't shut up about it.  Basically calling people ignorant and other insults....trespassers, meathead rockers, "You think Wilco is unworthy of you", "You think Wilco OWES you something."  I have not seen that kind of behavior from the underwhelmed directed towards those who love the album. 

 

Very bizarre and thin skinned.  Like a cult.  It's gross.  When this group was highly active some years back, I don't recall it ever getting like that (not that we didn't have disagreements or arguments)...which is weird because web forums are more anonymous than FB, so you'd think it'd be easier to devolve into flame wars here than there.  But what do I know?  

 

I haven't been won over by the album yet.  I certainly may be at some point, and I hope I will be.  My general feeling is that Wilco has been operating in a much narrower range since Schmilco than what I prefer.  But, setting my personal opinion aside, I can still hear the quality of what they are doing within that narrow range.  There's tons of interesting playing from all members of the band.  But I feel that it requires more deep focused headphone listening to uncover it than it used to. And my tinnitus is easily set off by headphones, so I much prefer listening on home stereo or car speakers. So it's gotten somewhat difficult to fully enjoy their records. 

 

Thank you for indulging my little rant.  I always enjoy reading everyone's responses when a new album comes out, and I think I have found something to agree with in each review, whether it be pro or con.

 

But I will never, ever agree that "I went through hell on the way to hell" is a good lyric.  That line is a total stinker, especially from a guy who wrote a book about lyric writing.  THAT is my one hardened and immovable opinion about the record.  If you love that line, then OK, I think that is just fine.

I find it odd that there would be such heated discussion regarding masterpiece/non-masterpiece for an album that was released just four days ago.  I have only been able to listen to the album a few times because I did not have early access, and it was a busy holiday weekend.

 

What seems to be happening with me is that the album is slowly revealing itself to me over time.  There is no way I can have any opinion at all about it yet, let alone decide if it’s a masterpiece or not!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good post from jff. It seems as though any time someone is critical of the band, there's a group of people who take it as a personal insult. I doubt even the band cares that much. I've noticed a change in the fanbase after The Tweedy Show too. There's a lot more fandom for Jeff and co as people, not just musicians.

Things definitely have changed. I remember VC after AGIB and SBS came out, at the end of the year, most people didn't include Wilco in their favourite records of the year. Just because this was a Wilco message board, didn't mean it's cool to like Wilco here!!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jff said:

, I can still hear the quality of what they are doing within that narrow range.  There's tons of interesting playing from all members of the band.  But I feel that it requires more deep focused headphone listening to uncover it than it used to. And my tinnitus is easily set off by headphones, so I much prefer listening on home stereo or car speakers. So it's gotten somewhat difficult to fully enjoy their records. 

 

 

 

 


Cruel Country is definitely a Listen-On-The-Headphones-at-home record for me. It is not my flavor of a Driving-In-The-Car type of album. Standout tracks for me include Hints, Tired Of Taking It Out On You, Falling Apart (Right Now). Lifetime to Find has the catchiest, most sing-along-y chorus of the album. There aren't many big sing-along moments on this record. Sad Kind of Way and Story To Tell also interest me.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...