It’s been nearly four years since Chicago’s alternative/folk/Americana/experimental superstar outfit Wilco released its last official album – 2011’s The Whole Love. And it’s been even longer – 13 years, to be exact – that Jeff Tweedy and company took the indie rock world by storm with their seminal release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Since the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in 2002, Wilco has stayed relatively close to their folk jam roots, producing songs like “Handshake Drugs” from A Ghost is Born, “Impossible Germany” on Sky Blue Sky and “You Never Know” on Wilco – all highlighting Tweedy’s distinct voice and lyrics. Even with the addition of the crazy guitar antics of Nels Cline in 2004, Wilco still haven’t come as close to the sonic landscape they created on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (not to discredit their solid rock output since then).
Then out of nowhere last Thursday, Wilco surprised the music world by dropping a brand-new (and free) album – Star Wars. Made up of 11 disparate tracks that run the gamut from psychedelia to Krautrock, Star Wars comes the closest to Wilco recapturing the energy and experimental nature that made Yankee Hotel Foxtrot so endearing to fans and critics.
One of the standout tracks on the new album is “Pickled Ginger,” which starts out with Cline’s fuzzy, distorted guitar, building to a crescendo of Glenn Kotche’s drumming and psyched-out keyboards. Tweedy’s cryptic lyrics also take center stage – “No one tells me how to behave/I know when I’m goin’ in the grave.”