CD review: Wilco’s “Star Wars” best album since 2002
Special to the Daily
Wilco: “Star Wars” — Wilco has gotten into the surprise album release game, dropping, without previous announcement, the 11-song, 34-minute “Star Wars.” Opening with the 78-second Sonic Youth-like guitar scrawl of “EKG,” “Star Wars” is raw and rough, eschewing the band’s usual production and perfection for a dense, guitar-thick sound that finds Jeff Tweedy’s ragged voice sneaking up through the mix — often sounding like John Lennon on songs like “The Joke Explained.”
“You Satellite” drones and drives with more guitars — not quite Sonic Youth, but heading in that direction — and it’s the longest song on the record at just over five minutes. Then, it’s a switch back to the alt-country, pop of “Taste The Ceiling,” along with the first two-thirds of the ballad “Where Do I Begin,” the most traditionally Wilco-like numbers on “Star Wars.” Filled with lines like “I kind of like it when I make you cry” from the biting “Random Name Generator,” and “why do our disasters creep so slowly into view” from “Taste The Ceiling,” and references to relationship power plays in the shifting “Cold Slope,” the words on “Star Wars” are as engaging as the music, revealing ever more on repeat listens. “Star Wars” wraps up with the orchestral pop of “Magnetized,” a gorgeous, stately song that’s not like anything else on the album and captivates with its variety and vigor. It closes out one of Wilco’s best albums since 2002’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” – Rating: 4 stars
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