Wilco’s 10th album Schmilco was released last week and it’s awesome. It’s not their best (only because yankee hotel foxtrot is parked in my brain and too stubborn to ever leave), but it’s Wilco being Wilco. Great songwriting, smooth vocals, and a personal connection to the music that is hard to beat; it will be hard to ever find an album that is easier to listen to than Schmilco.
Schmilco hits on everything that I love about a studio Wilco album. Raw, laid back, punch in the gut lyrics with songs that leave room for some experimentation and expansion when played live. I can see myself in a beautiful theatre listening to “Cry All Day” while the build and energy of the song is making me literally cry all night. I can feel the explosion about to happen during the guitar and xylophone(!) solo during “Common Sense”. I can close my eyes during the second half of “Quarters” and feel the beauty in the instrumental that closes out the track; if I am ever troubled by anything or need to relax, that song may be put on repeat. I want to run through a wall and high five everyone I know during “Locator” when Wilco showcases everything that makes them great in just 138 seconds. And as the closing track “Just Say Goodbye” is playing, I already miss the beginning of the album, so instead of saying goodbye, I can queue it all up again.
I think the thing I love most about Schmilco is that it shows me that Wilco is always at their best. Being an honest band will do that. They never feel like they have to do anything to impress anyone or change their ways to appeal to the masses (they do experiment with crazy shit but only because they can and want to). Jeff Tweedy and company will always be true to themselves and their fans and Schmilco is just another example of that. A simple 12 track album that isn’t anything different or groundbreaking. And that’s fine by me.