Theme Tune to Life Wilco's The Whole Love Reviewed

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Every once in a while an album lands in my lap that becomes a travel companion and the theme tune to a stage in my life, but it's a rare thing.


In the 70's it was the Sex Pistols "Never Mind the Bollocks" album that symbolised my step into teenage life and later throughout the mod revival period of '79 and into the '80's it was Secret Affair's Glory Boys album and The Who's iconic Quadrophenia double disc that was played continually on my record player. Later Oasis and Blur took up the mantle throughout the '90s revisiting old mod power pop and reinventing its own identity as the Britpop genre evolved. But nothing new really touched me or moved me in the same way after that-there was a decade where I rarely even listened to the radio except for XFM when it was cool and less mainstream, and even then it was only the occasional spark that made me whizz into HMV.

33 wilcothe whole love zani tracey wilmot  3.In recent years my theme tunes to life were empty, maybe because the lyrics didn't fit into my new sensible grown up lifestyle anymore, I mean no one writes songs about buying nappies and raising kids do they? New music didn't excite me either, Weller had lost his way, the Gallagher brothers spent more time in the news fighting and less time recording and I became apathetic about music more with the birth of the X Factor, the poisoned chalice to good music. That is until I discovered Wilco and fell in love with this unique and mesmerising sound. Over the years I've ranted and raved about their genius lyrics and brilliant compositions, I've seen them live twice when they came to UK and am always blown away. So now it is with some pleasure I can truly say that Wilco"s new album 'The Whole Love' has taken up residence in my "life's theme tune" chock full of iconic memorable tunes and insanely clever lyrics it really does take you on a journey through life at various speeds--and is simply an album that demands to be played! Jeff Tweedy admits his influences include John Lennon and there's no doubt there is a glimpse of Lennon in this new collection but also a hint of T Rex in the title track Whole Love..and a glimmer of old style US rock thrown in for good measure to hold it all together. Tweedy's voice has gained a new maturity and you are made to feel like he is sharing his memories and experiences-sometimes upbeat sometimes as low as it gets. He talks of love, death, disease, hope, despair and optimism and no doubt there will be something that will strike a guitar chord in every listeners mind. Its the combination of guitars drums and percussion which I find are simply breathtaking-every triangle, bell and delicate shimmer of the tambourine adds a detail to the story. Its like listening to an intimate conversation as each carefully placed note adds another dimension to the background. Its certainly a coming of age album for Wilco.

So after you peruse the odd artwork of this album be prepared for the ride. The journey opens with the crackly orchestral entrance of Art of Almost (the ultimate track to listen to when you are driving or looking out of the window of a fast train) Tweedy's voice appears unexpectedly like the voice of a man's conscience and he draws you in to his world. The powerful drums and thunderous punctuation reminds us of the "almost" moments, the "if onlys" and the distant memories of people that pass in and out of our lives. Suddenly the drums speed up like a heartbeat on an adrenaline rush, guitars rock and the finale has you almost leaping out of your chair to dance.

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There are love songs too both bittersweet and some just plain bitter..take "Dawned On Me" an almost too catchy mod beat has you on your feet dancing to the Hammond beat. Then the melancholy yet optimistic lyrics and piano Hammond accords of "Sunloathe" end with the contradictory words of a confused lover "I don't wanna lose this fight I don't wanna end this fight-goodbye"

My favourite track? It's hard as I admit I really am obsessed with this album. I adore the cheerful northern soul beat of 'Dawned On Me' and its happy upbeat sound-it makes me smile and feel good about myself again and it's an instant morale boosting super charged track for gloomy days (I defy you not to join in the harmonies and ooh's and ahs at the end) then you have the simple Wilco-esque style of "Born Alone" that stays in your mind for days-about the inevitability of death and the fear of dying alone, the finale and video are brilliantly composed and united for a breathtaking climax.

Want a romantic tune? Then listen to "Open Mind", just close your eyes and you can almost see two lovers romantically dancing together as they grow older-it's probably the perfect sound track for a marriage proposal or a wedding that would have the guests blubbing like babies into their hankies. But ok if I could choose one track the sheer brilliance of 'Black Moon' and its melancholic lyric is a real gem, it's both romantic and dreamy "I'm waiting, waiting for you, waiting forever.. Are you awake now.. too?"

There are just too many loved tracks to detail so don't just take my word for it-buy the album, listen, relax and enjoy and maybe, just maybe, this album will be your life's theme tune for a while too...

wilcothe whole love zani tracey wilmot  jay bennett.RIP Jay Bennett



















© Words Tracey Wilmot/ ZANI Media
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Read 3220 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 15:28
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