First things first--The Whole Love is way better than anyone could have, and should have expected. After all, Wilco has sort of been on a bit of a downward slope since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. To be fair, how couldn’t they be? After all, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was a defining release, helping shape 2000’s indie, as well as being a stunning album in its own right. Impossible to top, yes, but Wilco haven’t been anywhere near their A game since, release records to little fanfare, and mixed critical acclaim. Well, whatever funk they were in has ended, as Whole Love not only sees Wilco return to their former, amazing selves, but it sees them creatively invigorated, ready to prove they aren’t down for the count.
It should be said that Wilco haven’t been “bad,” per se, because even at their worst (2009’s Wilco(The Album)) they’re still pretty good. But the trend is evident, with each album post-2002 featuring a less enthusiastic band whose sound continues to stagnate. That is until now, with The Whole Love being a breath of fresh air, and the band’s renaissance. It’s everything a Wilco album should be: catchy, rocking, and expertly crafted. It flows beautifully, and leaves you wanting more. This isn’t just a great Wilco album; it’s a great album period.
There are so many factors going into this album’s excellence that it’s a rather daunting task listing them. Whether it be the groovy “Art of Almost” (with the absolute incredible guitar solo), the languid and atmospheric “Open Mind,” or the stunning “One Sunday Morning,” there’s something here for everyone to love. It’s much more diverse than just about anything else in their discography, yet it features so much of what has made them such an incredible band. It’s a Wilco album for people who love Wilco, but that shouldn’t deter those looking for an entry point. The Whole Love is an incredibly approachable record, and should be heard by anyone and everyone who’s ever liked an indie album.
It’s been a real treat hearing that oh so familiar countrified alternative/indie sound once more. Wilco have crafted one hell of a fantastic record. You may have reservations, and I can’t blame you, I did too. But to pass this up would be a missed opportunity, The Whole Love is wonderful; a deep and impassioned album that doesn’t forget how wonderfully enjoyable music can be.
1. Art of Almost
2. I Might
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 (Song For Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)