Wilco
Star Wars


4.0
excellent

Review

by argonaut USER (18 Reviews)
July 17th, 2015 | 48 replies


Release Date: 07/16/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not Wilco's best, but a great summer album well worth your time and effort.

The surprise release has become an intriguing trend within the contemporary world of music. With the interestingly-titled Star Wars, Wilco has added their prominent name (at least within indie circles) to the phenomenon. Star Wars proves to be a rock-solid addition to the band’s fundamentally sound discography, certainly exceeding the modest expectations which might be formed by a surprise release with the wonderful price of “free”.

Musically, Star Wars has a distinct sound throughout. The album is heavily rock-oriented, with occasional touches of the now-distant folkish and alt-country origins of the band. Simply from the brief opener “EKG”, a noisy guitar instrumental, it is evident that the album will be an interestng trip. Probably fortunately, the rest of the tracks do contain vocals. They are a mixture of hard-rocking songs (by Wilco’s moderate standards) and smoother folkish numbers. Of the former, “Random Name Generator” stands out, driven along by its propulsive and rocking rhythms, as does “Pickled Ginger”, which demonstrates the band’s surprising adoption of punk and noise rock influences. The more-or-less folk-rock “Taste The Ceiling” meanwhile distinguishes itself among the latter, as an immensely relaxing song. Meanwhile, “Where Do I Begin” is a touching ballad, arguably the finest song on Star Wars, and one that emphasizes the dualistic nature of the album, with its final minute dominated by shrieking guitars.

Star Wars does have its share of missteps. The initial track “EKG”, with its somewhat experimental nature, will likely be divisive for listeners. “You Satellite”, by far the longest track on the release, seems to go on excessively without sufficient direction. Meanwhile, penultimate track “King Of You” does little to make itself memorable. Nonetheless, a sizable majority of the songs here are of high quality, and even the weak links are far from truly bad.

Ultimately, Star Wars is not a particularly challenging album. This is neither praise nor criticism, simply a statement. While lyrically Tweedy, as always, presents some profound sentiments, for the most part this album is remarkably easy to listen to. Star Wars might be a mixture of heavy rock tracks with more relaxed folky jams, but it all flows together in a way that was seemingly made for chilled-out summer listening. While it is unlikely to be seen as the crown jewel of Wilco’s acclaimed career, Star Wars achieves its aim and more. As a free surprise gift to the fans, something like this is hard to top.



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user ratings (203)
Chart.
3.3
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other reviews of this album
Rudy K. STAFF (4)
This is not the Wilco you're looking for....


Comments:Add a Comment 
IrrationalAnimal
July 17th 2015


80 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

too soon [9]

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fair enough. I've given this one four full listens so far though, and feel like I've got a pretty strong grasp of the album. Of course, my feelings on it could change in the future, but this encapsulates how I feel about it currently.

JWT155
July 17th 2015


13537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Eh people review movies all the time in one sitting, I think music needs more attention but I've listened through it a few times myself already and have a good idea about what i think about it.

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, agreed. Some albums are easier to "digest" than others, and I felt this one was less complex than some I can think of.

AmericanFlagAsh
July 17th 2015


8656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeeeeee

Digging: Alvvays - Antisocialites

Friday13th
July 17th 2015


5866 Comments


So...is it worth checking out purely because of Star Wars geekiness? :D

Digging: Fleming and John - Delusions of Grandeur

Tunaboy45
July 17th 2015


15496 Comments


I've got a bad feeling about this

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Friday13th, I'd recommend this just for the fact that it's solid and fairly accessible, not for the Star Wars connection though.



@Tunaboy45, why?





Tunaboy45
July 17th 2015


15496 Comments


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Drkh0YLF8rI

just thought I'd make a reference

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha, missed that one.

JWT155
July 17th 2015


13537 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't get cocky Tunaboy

theBoneyKing
July 17th 2015


11800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It's pretty good so far. Idk if I can 4 it yet but it's at least a 3.5. The biggest issue is that it doesn't feel like there's any new territory here.

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@theBoneyKing, I think that is a valid criticism. I see this album more as a combination of various styles the band has pursued in the past, more than any new innovations. Some of the rock-oriented songs are a bit distinctive in my opinion though.

apokolypz
July 17th 2015


489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is pretty fucking good, sounds a lot like Sonic Youth to me. I haven't heard much of Wilco's previous material, is this a new sound or direction for them?

theBoneyKing
July 17th 2015


11800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

@argonaut:This is definitely more of a mix of their older styles. It's kind of a mix between Wilco (The Album) and The Whole Love (which were themselves mostly revisits of old Wilco styles, particularly s/t), but it (so far) lacks any significant stand out tracks. It's telling that this has the shortest longest song on a Wilco album since their debut. Not that that's bad, but it makes it feel a bit under-ambitious for them. It's fine though; at this point, Wilco deserve to just keep going on on their trail.

@apokolypz: As I just said, this is not a new sound or direction at all for the most part.

Gyromania
July 17th 2015


22752 Comments


so glad to hear this is good. didn't even know this was coming out tbh

theBoneyKing
July 17th 2015


11800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

No one knew this was coming out...

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha, that is how a surprise release usually works.

Gyromania
July 17th 2015


22752 Comments


hadn't read the review, literally didn't know a thing about it until like 10 minutes ago

argonaut
July 17th 2015


818 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's all good, no worries.



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