Wilco’s iTunes session

Arts & Entertainment — By Sami Ross on February 17, 2012 8:00 AM

For those of you who couldn’t get enough of Wilco’s latest LP, The Whole Love, you’re in for a treat. This month, the Chicago superstars have dropped a special EP aptly titled iTunes Session.

This eight-track record features Wilco songs that span across the decades; dedicated fans will be pleased to note the inclusion of an A.M. track—whoa, old school!

Though the EP takes a trip down musical memory lane, a certain element is missing. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

This album showcases Wilco’s country-alt roots with light, tightly performed tunes and, notably, almost no experimental noise solos. This short album is a review of the band’s career; however, each song was carefully selected in order to send a message.

The album consists mainly of tracks from The Whole Love, but it pairs those new songs with older material from the early millennium, the late nineties and even a cover of a seventies pop classic.

When the tracks of Love stand with the older songs, it becomes clear that, despite the band’s penchant for raw static musical arrangements, Wilco firmly, and proudly, holds onto their “dad rock” persona.

The cover is a pleasant surprise. Lately, the band has used “Cruel to be Kind” as a closer for their shows and it fits nicely into their world of sunny but meaningful rock songs. Nick Lowe sings with the band on this version, and he fits into the band with an ease that makes this cover seem like a natural choice.

“Passenger Side,” the exciting A.M. edition, sounds great when paired with Love favorites like “Dawned on Me,” “Born Alone,” and “I Might.” It’s a classic Wilco track, mixing Americana goodness with Jeff Tweedy’s signature croon. Diehard Wilco fans and new listeners alike will get the warm fuzzies listening to rock and roll that transcends the ages.

It’s interesting to note what previous albums made appearances on this EP. Wilco skipped by favorites like “Summerteeth” and “A Ghost is Born” for less alternative material; however, the band gives a nod to masterpiece record, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. “War on War,” though a great track, doesn’t really represent YHF properly. It gives a nod to Wilco’s overall career and once again reaffirms that iTunes Session is carefully crafted to reflect a certain sound; it is not simply a Wilco music catalog.

The only track that stands alone on this record is the song “Black Moon.” It’s a beautiful song, but it was too gentle for Love and it also gets lost in the material of iTunes Session. The rest of the songs carry an upbeat punch and “Black Moon” seems abruptly low key in comparison.

Overall, this EP is a wonderful glimpse into Wilco’s career throughout the decades. It doesn’t focus on each individual chapter of their band’s history, but instead provides listeners with an overall view of what Wilco is really about: creating powerful, poetic country-alt jams. “Dad rock” lives on!

GRADE: B+

 

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