When quarantine and lockdown started amidst the global pandemic back in March Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, through his wife’s Instagram account did a live episode. Now as we sit here today there have been 120 of these. During the first weeks and months something during these IG lives was beginning to unfold and none of us who were tuning in each night really knew what. Low and behold October rolled around and an album comprised of Tweedy songs was born.
Jeff Tweedy is the lead singer for Wilco, and the father to Spencer and Sammy. For this album he enlisted the help of his sons, whom Jeff has coincidentally created a band with them aptly named “Tweedy.” Spencer plays drums and Sammy provides vocals. Through the IG lives what has become evident is Jeff and his sons enjoy playing music together. As I tune in each night, I feel like I am getting a master class in songwriting. Early on these songs that ended up on Love is King were sort of like misshapen shapes, but as the pandemic has gone on, and the songs were getting shaped into what we have on the album I was given a mild peek behind the curtain.
The songs are Jeff Tweedy. Poetry molded around the sonics that have driven Tweedy since being a kid and playing music. I won’t label these songs or this album, as labels are cheap and easy. These songs like any Tweedy record weave through all kinds of genre’s and it is what is left in the wake of that weaving that becomes the sonics of a Tweedy record or Wilco, or Loose Fur, or any other musical endeavor he falls into. The exploration of sound and being able to fit the stories around those sonics is what keeps me coming back.
We could go track by track, however that would take away the mystery of listening. Finding your own way through these songs and what they would mean to you. The album is eleven tracks at thirty-nine minutes long. That provide a respite from lockdowns, quarantines, and meandering through simply doing your best. These songs are stripped back from rocking Wilco records. Something a little more dialed into a world that looks different than it was a year ago. I have no idea of knowing how or when these songs were comprised, however the music romantic in me would like to think that they all just kind of happened early on during the pandemic. That, Jeff Tweedy would hoof it over to The Loft, which is a space Wilco has used for well over a decade to record, and something was there and little by little something grander began to emerge. What is most important are the eleven tracks that have been shared for us. I found myself closing my eyes and just drifting off somewhere. A record in “Love is King” that turned my relentless brain off for a second and channeled all of that thought, or whatever it is, to transporting me somewhere else for thirty – nine minutes. A simple respite for a while.
Love is King, is simply trying to say that, maybe if we all tried love a little more, especially now, we could change things. The album, I feel, through all the words and music might simply be saying that. However, that is not for me to decide. Just putting it out there seems mildly reckless. You listen, and you decide. In the end though it doesn’t really matter, because regardless of some larger meaning the songs are genuinely good. And, they are worth the listen, a few times over.