After a decade of recording in either their home base of Chicago or the nexus of Manhattan, Wilco had earned a working vacation, and so the excitingly titled Wilco (The Album) was recorded halfway around the world, in New Zealand. That they had to go Down Under to team up with Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist is no small irony, but “You And I” may be the most immediately appealing track Wilco has ever recorded; her voice blends perfectly with Jeff Tweedy’s, and the band smartly stays out of the way, placing their harmonies front-and-center. If nothing else on the record rises to such heights, Wilco (The Album) still holds together quite well as a cohesive work. The darkly personal “One Wing” strikes an enchanting middle ground between the band’s daring and tuneful tendencies, while the bright pop sheen of “You Never Know” sports a mid-song guitar break that’s a dead ringer for George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (almost certainly by design). And “Everlasting Everything” is probably the most appropriate closing number on any Wilco record; Tweedy’s voice rings beautifully bittersweet with resignation as he acknowledges, “Everything goes, both the good and the bad.”
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