Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Aug 13th, 2015

Wilco: Star Wars

Star Wars

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A new Wilco album is an event. At this point in their career they are one of the biggest American indie bands in the game. Fans anxiously await every release like it’s a precious gift. That’s why it was so surprising when they released their new album for free, online, with no prior marketing. It’s also pretty surprising that they named it Star Wars. That title, the unorthodox promotion model, and the music that lies within could all probably be explained with, “It seemed like a fun idea.”

Star Wars sounds like an album you decide to throw online one day. Which doesn’t mean it’s not good. This is Wilco we’re talking about. It does seem much lighter and more carefree than labored epics like Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot though. No one is going to make a black and white documentary about the making of this album. It opens with a strange little instrumental called “EKG” and if I didn’t already know it was Wilco I would’ve never guessed it. That track plus the next three songs sound like they were all recorded in one fun session. They have near identical instrumentation, including a really cool California fuzz guitar, and are all really catchy, upbeat pop-rock songs. After that, the songs get a little more diverse, but continue to fit the breezy feel of the album. “Taste the Ceiling” is a pretty country-rock ballad that would have fit on any Wilco album while “Pickled Giner” is garage rock deconstructed. At the end of the album there are two mid-tempo rockers that run together seamlessly followed by the sparse yet dreamy “Magnetized,” a perfect closer. You’re in and out in little over a half hour. It does come off a little like a B-sides collection, but it sounds like it was a blast to make. Plus making emotionally-charged masterpieces all the time can’t be easy. On Star Wars, it’s nice to hear them simply having a good time.

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Wilco: Star Wars