Jump to content

Wilco - Cruel Country - New Album


Recommended Posts

Wilco’s always been about creating stark contrasts. I would be surprised if there next record sounded anything like CC. I’m glad Jeff thinks they can follow up a record meant to provide comfort and solace with one that will sound “alien.” I agree CC isn’t “a step forward” as much as it’s just, imo, really fucking good.

 

I also agree there’s a bit of a conflict, or choice, between experimentation and wanting to do live takes. SBS and CC are not what I would call experimental, boundary pushing Wilco records. They’re great because of how they revert to an older mode of recording live full band moments. Records like YHF and OTJ, on the other hand, used the studio as a weapon to create new soundscapes for Wilco but required some post-album redesign to be played live. To me, it’s albums like WTA and even TWL that fail to grab me *as albums* (plenty of good songs on each) because they didn’t have a clear approach or set a distinct mood. That’s what I appreciate about the last four albums: they are each so different and consistent within themselves as albums. I know what mood I can get from each of them.

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

On 6/17/2022 at 2:12 PM, 5hake1t0ff said:

To me, it’s albums like WTA and even TWL that fail to grab me *as albums* (plenty of good songs on each) because they didn’t have a clear approach or set a distinct mood. That’s what I appreciate about the last four albums: they are each so different and consistent within themselves as albums. I know what mood I can get from each of them.

 

This is astute. I love TWL but it's the variety pack model. Curious though, if you go back through you can hear the seeds of Star Wars in songs like I Might, and the approach of CC in One Sunday Morning and Black Moon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"I agree CC isn’t “a step forward” as much as it’s just, imo, really fucking good."

 

"...if you go back through you can hear the seeds of Star Wars in songs like I Might, and the approach of CC in One Sunday Morning and Black Moon."

 

 

These are, to me, good takes. I like Cruel Country a LOT. I think it works GREAT as an album, as did Ode To Joy, in my opinion. But both works are VERY serious sounding. And arty (Ode To Joy especially).

 

For me, Cruel Country really takes off and soars at Track 10, and is a beautiful ride until the end. But I do enjoy the first 9 tracks, and think they fit and set up the album well.

 

My dream for Wilco's next record would be their spin on Power-Pop (think Fountains Of Wayne, including a tinge of humor). Or, at least, an album that FEELS more like the singer & band are having a good time. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Passenger Sid said:

My dream for Wilco's next record would be their spin on Power-Pop (think Fountains Of Wayne, including a tinge of humor). Or, at least, an album that FEELS more like the singer & band are having a good time. 

I am so primed for something like this. (Fun fact: I once saw FoW and Wilco back-to-back at Summerfest. Still one of my favorite concert-going memories.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Passenger Sid said:

But both works are VERY serious sounding. And arty (Ode To Joy especially).

 

I think Jeff got the memo about how Wilco Schmilco was received. (Not that it wasn't actually, in some ways, a very serious album. Just didn't land that way.) People expect serious Wilco. But I love your idea of a humor-based album; plus, it would allow Jeff to bring in Nic Offerman and George Saunders as collaborators.

Link to post
Share on other sites

^ I'm curious what are some successful examples of albums that are mostly comedic. Newman's satire comes to mind but it's often as upsetting as it is funny. I get the feeling Zappa goes there but I don't mess with his stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 I don't know. I'm having trouble thinking of a band using comedy as a guiding concept for an album. There are the comedic bands like Tenacious D and, more recently, Mouse Rat (which included some Tweedy contributions). There are great songwriters who regularly deploy their sense of humor, like Bob Dylan and David Berman. But none of those examples quite fit the bill, do they.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"There are great songwriters who regularly deploy their sense of humor, like Bob Dylan and David Berman"

 

Paul Westerberg, Kurt Vile, Robyn Hitchcock, Dry Cleaning...

 

"Whimsical" would be a way better word than "comedy"...I don't think any of us would want Wilco attempting that. Passenger Side is a Top 10 all-time Wilco song for me. And some of Jeff's Golden Smog contributions are wonderful.

 

Besides all that, no matter the lyrics, an album that SOUNDS fun would we awesome. (I have Viking Dan on right now....I have no freaking idea what it means, but the jam smokes, and Jeff's voice has fantastic energy).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, lost highway said:

^ I'm curious what are some successful examples of albums that are mostly comedic. Newman's satire comes to mind but it's often as upsetting as it is funny. I get the feeling Zappa goes there but I don't mess with his stuff.


The Turtles Battle of the Bands

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/19/2022 at 9:10 AM, lost highway said:

 

This is astute. I love TWL but it's the variety pack model. Curious though, if you go back through you can hear the seeds of Star Wars in songs like I Might, and the approach of CC in One Sunday Morning and Black Moon.


Although I quoted you, I’m offering a take in response to you and to 5hake1tOff,

 

I feel like the variety pack model works best on double albums (White Album, Physical Graffiti, maybe Electric Ladyland), where the band can really stretch out and go lots of different places.  The cohesive album model, to me, works better on single albums (Rubber Soul, for example.). Maybe it’s a matter of attention span.

 

In my opinion, TWL might have been better if they had leaned harder into the variety pack concept and made it a double album.  And CC would be better if they had cut it down to a single.

 

i can’t really think of any double albums I love that I would consider cohesive in style or tone.  Even concept double-albums that are thematically cohesive like the Wall or Tommy are all over the map in musical style.

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, lost highway said:

 

I'll check it out!


It helps if you look at the band photos inside the gatefold record cover.  I’m not sure if it comes across as well without that element.

Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, jff said:

In my opinion, TWL might have been better if they had leaned harder into the variety pack concept and made it a double album.  And CC would be better if they had cut it down to a single.

 

I would actually be into both of these versions. I love TWL and it could continue it's kaleidoscopic approach for another 10 songs. 

 

I'd also add London Calling is another classic 'variety pack' double album (as is Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness by that other Chicago band). You might be on to something. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wholeheartedly agree TWL would be even better as a double album. Just adding Speak Into The Rose gets you halfway there, lol.

 

In general, like jff, I definitely prefer albums to be less than 45 minutes and have a consistent mood. That said, I still find that CC has plenty of variety to keep me interested all the way through.

 

I'll throw another idea out there: OTJ works better as a six track EP: (Tracks 1-4, 8, and 11). 

(Edit to add: "Love is Everywhere" belongs on CC!)

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, 5hake1t0ff said:

 

 

In general, like jff, I definitely prefer albums to be less than 45 minutes 

 

 

I guess having grown up mostly listening to vinyl, I have become accustomed to 35 - 45 minutes as the right length of time for an album.   I can focus intently on 22 minute album side, with a break to turn it over, and then another 22 minutes for the other side. And I can keep that focus going for several hours worth of albums.  

 

I got my first CD player when I was 16, and noticed right away that new releases were longer just because there was room for more songs.  The added length almost never resulted in better albums. I guess you could say you're getting more for your money when there's more music, but if you thoroughly enjoy 45 minute albums as a general rule (with a pause in the middle) and find 60-70 minute CDs inconsistent and less enjoyable as a general rule, is it really a better value?

 

Now I'm curious, how long is each CD in the two CD CC release?  Two 40 minute CDs might be a good way to hear this album. 

 

 

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

 

Now I'm curious, how long is each CD in the two CD CC release?  Two 40 minute CDs might be a good way to hear this album. 

 

 

 

Disc One ends with The Universe and is 39 minutes. Disc Two is 38 minutes.

 

Great post, by the way. Love thinking about our listening experiences as being physical in nature. 

 

Speaking of, I wonder if the pandemic led to some shift in creativity towards the form factor of the double album. My four favorite albums released this year are all double albums (Wilco, Big Thief, Beach House, and Kendrick Lamar).

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 5hake1t0ff said:

 

Disc One ends with The Universe and is 39 minutes. Disc Two is 38 minutes.

 

 

 I may get the CD version when it becomes available and try it that way.

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...