Jeff Tweedy
Love Is The King


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
October 29th, 2020 | 10 replies


Release Date: 10/23/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When you need me, I'll be there

As the frontman of Wilco, Jeff Tweedy needs no formal introduction. At this point in his career, he seems to have built something of an infallible empire: his best works, including last year’s subtly brilliant Ode to Joy, remind us of how high his ceiling can be while his floor consists primarily of resilient, enduring works that are lacking only in name recognition. His solo career has been almost as consistent as his one with Wilco, as Tweedy has released an LP every year going back to 2017. Love Is The King comes to us as comfort food in a year where very little is dependable. It might not seem like much, but Tweedy’s got your back: Love Is The King is weathered and patient, rarely effusive, and entirely demonstrative of its namesake. It’s a warm embrace.

Smack in the center of Love Is The King, Tweedy begins ‘Even I Can See’ as if addressing a large audience: “If I may have your attention please / I'll tell you about my wife and what she means to me.” This is the sort of passage that defines Love Is The King, a record in touch with both the world and Tweedy’s inner emotions at the same time. He puts the onus on the prevailing forces of good, whether it’s finding acceptance through a kindred soul (“I was never one who needed to believe, in a god hard to find / But I found by her side, there's a god evеn I can see”) or overcoming rampant violence (“The tanks in the streets…Green and grey, violent and still / Spinning above stones and slings / When push comes to shove, love is the king”). Recorded alongside his sons Spencer and Sam during the pandemic, themes of familiarity and inward retreat abound, Love Is The King unfolds like a black-and-white home movie – which turns out to be a lot easier to connect with during these times than the purposefully histrionic. Understated folk is always where Tweedy has thrived, and Love Is The King continues that time-honored tradition.

Again, there’s nothing here that greatly deviates from Tweedy’s previous three solo works or Wilco’s subtle formulas. Acoustic guitars shimmer and fade emotively, the drums tap into an earthy aesthetic, and Jeff’s voice delivers passive melodies that gradually absorb rather than assertively grip. He effectively balances pluckier Americana with glistening reprieves, refusing to ever settle for moments of intrigue that aren’t earned. It makes Love Is The King less captivating on the surface, but more rewarding over time as its intricacies slowly win you over. Highlights are evasive, but only because the atmosphere is so even. The best moments don’t come when the music bids for anything grand, but rather when it is unassuming enough to allow for accentual instrumentation (most often an electric guitar riff, or more sparsely a whistled ditty) and lyrical gems to float to the surface. If you listened to Warmer or Ode to Joy, nothing here will come as much of a surprise – but that’s part of the record’s charm as well as a sign of Tweedy’s continued maturation and the refinement of his craft.

There’s a line on this album where Jeff sings, “They say no work of art is ever donе” and it feels applicable to his entire career. Tweedy’s output between Wilco and his solo recordings has been prolific, and even as his creative curve has flattened in recent years, it feels less like stagnation and more like Jeff arriving at a home stretch. He’s crafting songs at a studio he built himself with his family, and is now in COVID-induced isolation. Perhaps under different circumstances Love Is The King would be more vulnerable to criticism for its lack of diversity and experimentation, but right now, it resides at a perfect intersection of lifeline-like consistency and volatile external circumstances. Grab hold of Tweedy’s never-ending life’s work and feel the love.

When the world falls apart I can say with certainty
There's a reason
A light left on in an empty room
Is how a love can be




s
Recent reviews by this author
Taylor Swift Folklore: The Long Pond Studio SessionsZach Bryan Quiet, Heavy Dreams
Phoebe Bridgers If We Make It Through DecemberSeahaven Halo of Hurt
Ariana Grande positionsAndrew Bird HARK!
user ratings (17)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
October 29th 2020


36273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wasn't originally planning on reviewing this but it kept growing on me. Lots of amazing folk coming out right now.

Digging: ManDancing - The Good Sweat

theBoneyKing
October 29th 2020


19679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

LOVE this album, maybe my favorite Tweedy release since The Whole Love.

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 29th 2020


36273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I still prefer Ode to Joy over this. But both albums are among his best.

theBoneyKing
October 29th 2020


19679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ode to Joy is great but pretty mid tier late career Wilco/Tweedy for me. I prefer Sukierae and Schmilco (and this) to it. Though “One and a Half Stars” is a total classic.

Sunnyvale
October 29th 2020


1845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was a tad disappointed in this, after Ode To Joy (which I loved), but Tweedy could write a great folk-rock album in his sleep

Sunnyvale
October 29th 2020


1845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Also, great review Sowing. The themes you emphasized and the lyrics you referenced really make me want to give this one a lot more time

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 29th 2020


36273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't get much from this on my first spin Sunnyvale, but that's par for the Wilco course tbh. It always takes time to grow and I'm sure this will for you too, although I agree that it's a clear cut below Ode to Joy.

TundraL5Z
October 30th 2020


5336 Comments


name jeff

Digging: Alustrium - Insurmountable

NorthernSkylark
October 30th 2020


10499 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wanna be jeffs dog

Digging: Zach Bryan - Quiet, Heavy Dreams

theBoneyKing
November 3rd 2020


19679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd like to find out why she had to go

My heart wants what a heart can't control

Now I hang in the air as the light gets cold

And I hide in her shadows

Welcome her home...




You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy