The Record of the Month for October is Ode To Joy, the newest record from Wilco, pressed on white vinyl exclusively for Magnolia Record Club!
The album comes about three years after their last effort, Schmilco, and helps remind us to measure our joy in our own way, and that joy is something that should be celebrated and not ignored.
“There MUST be more love than hate. Right?! I’m not always positive we can be so sure. In any case, I’m starting to feel like being confident in that equation isn’t always the best motivation for me to be my best self – it can kind of let me off the hook a little bit when I think I should be striving to contribute more love outside of my comfortable sphere of family and friends.”
– Jeff Tweedy
Wilco return with Ode to Joy, out October 4th via dBpm Records. Ode to Joy comes three-plus years after the release of the “world-weary, wheezy – and wonderfully warm” (The Guardian) Schmilco, and encourages the act of finding joy in a dark political climate. The album presents a unique rhythm track and a minimalist instrumentation, with lyrics at once observant, hopeful, morbid, tolerant, and abstract. “Love is Everywhere (Beware),” the album’s extrospective lead single, is an upbeat, guitar-driven track that explores the dual joy and threat of a community focused on love. Jeff Tweedy discusses it below.
“There MUST be more love than hate. Right?! I’m not always positive we can be so sure. In any case, I’m starting to feel like being confident in that equation isn’t always the best motivation for me to be my best self – it can kind of let me off the hook a little bit when I think I should be striving to contribute more love outside of my comfortable sphere of family and friends. So. . . I guess the song is sort of a warning to myself that YES, Love IS EVERYWHERE, but also BEWARE! I can’t let that feeling absolve me of my duty to create more.”
Following his two solo albums, WARM and WARMER, and memoir, Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), Tweedy gathered Wilco to The Loft in Chicago. While all six members of the band can be heard on every song, Tweedy and Glenn Kotche were the launching pad from which most of the songs on Ode to Joy materialized – Kotche’s percussion propels the music forward while Tweedy’s measured words flesh out the cleared paths. As a result, the album is comprised of “really big, big folk songs, these monolithic, brutal structures that these delicate feelings are hung on,” as described by Tweedy. Across the entire album, drums pound and plod with a steady one–two pulse, meant to mimic the movement of marching—a powerful act utilized on both sides of the authoritarian wall. There’s also a sense of comfort that comes with the rhythmic marching sound.
2. Before Us
3. One and a Half Stars
4. Quiet Amplifier
5. Everyone Hides
6. White Wooden Cross
8. We Were Lucky
9. Love Is Everywhere (Beware)
10. Hold Me Anyway
11. An Empty Corner