The Chicago band's eighth album is varied but entertaining
Wilco gets everything backwards.
Rock bands are supposed to start small, releasing music on obscure, independent labels, and working their way up to a major record company contract. Wilco, though, began their career on a major label subsidiary in 1994, divorced it to release 2001's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, signed to another subsidiary, and, four studio albums and one Grammy later, decided to start their own indie imprint, dBpm Records. Their first release on that label, The Whole Love, is out today.
The band's also flipped the stereotype about rockers growing jaded over the years, settling into a samey groove, and penning ever-weepier ballads about the downside of success. The recent arc of Wilco's career has seen singer Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates writing some of their most open-hearted, adventuresome material yet.
"Maybe it was something about coming from punk rock," Tweedy said over the phone a few weeks ago. "Or maybe it was the people I was playing with. But back at the start of my career, there was always this sense that it was wrong to feel good about yourself and feel joy in what you do. A lot of time, I would just beat myself up and think I was a terrible person. Now I just don't give a shit. I'm just going to have fun making music and take joy in that."