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Leighann

CD of The Week

Week of 1/14/19

    Jeff Tweedy - WARM (dBpm)

    Jeff Tweedy's recorded output is pretty massive at this point, with 30 years of releases from Uncle Tupelo and Wilco to various side projects. But he'd never released a new studio album strictly under his own name until last month with WARM.

    In recent years, Tweedy's lyrics have become more obtuse and oblique but these songs are much more straightforward and bluntly honest at times. The death of his father and the acceptance of mortality weigh heavily on WARM. In the opening track "Bombs Above," Tweedy sings, "I leave behind a trail of songs / From the darkest gloom to the brightest sun." The twangy "Don't Forget" wouldn't be out of place among the earliest Wilco or Uncle Tupelo songs and includes the lyric "We all think about dying / Don't let it kill you."

    One highlight is the jaunty, country-tinged sing-along "Let's Go Rain." Here, Tweedy suggests that a biblical Noah's Ark-style flood may be a good thing again, while also pondering religion and giving a shout-out to Tweedy's longtime friend Scott McCaughey (of The Minus 5, The Baseball Project and a zillion other bands). The lovely single "I Know What It's Like" is another standout song.

    The release of WARM was timed in conjunction with Tweedy's autobiography Let's Go (So We Can Get Back). Parts of the book deal with his past addiction issues and he takes this topic up again in "Having Been is No Way To Be." In response to questions he's been asked far too many times, Tweedy sings, "Now people say, 'What drugs did you take?' and 'Why don't you start taking them again?' / What difference would it ever make to them? / But they're not my friends."

    WARM is definitely at the mellower end of Tweedy's catalog and of a piece with the Sukierae record he made with his son Spencer a while back, as well as Wilco's last release Schmilco. It's a moodier album that requires closer attention, but if you're a longtime Wilco fan, it feels at times like an intimate, serious conversation with an old friend.
    Review by Joey O.

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