Reviewed By: Jonah Arbet
Schmilco is Wilco’s 10th studio album. A great album title which happens to be a nod to Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson. Schmilco is a set of songs recorded during the same sessions of their previous album, 2015’s Star Wars. While Star Wars sees the band cultivating rambunctious sounds and fuzzy guitars full of energy, Schmilco is more introspective backed by acoustic guitars and concise drumming by percussion virtuoso, Glenn Kotche.
In the album’s first song, “Normal American Kids”, Tweedy writes about his younger times, “’fore drive/’fore I could vote”. He describes being high under his bedsheets, hating everything he can’t understand, and never wanting to be like those “normal American kids”. In the catchy-reminiscing tune, “If I Ever Was A Child”, Tweedy sings, “I hunt for the kind of pain I can take.” In the album’s sixth track, “Someone to Lose” the band lets loose with a chug-chugging riff and electric guitars sprinkled throughout. This is a song that captures Wilco’s colorful imagination and uncontainable energy.
Schmilco almost feels like a few pages out of a journal from Jeff Tweedy backed by some simple, crisp melodies from the band. Tweedy speaks about the new album: “I think this record is ‘joyously negative’. It’s sad in a lot of ways but not in any that reach a conclusion of doom or hopelessness. I just had a lot of fun being sour about the things that upset me.” Schmilco is enjoyed best with a warm beverage on a cool, cloudy day with feelings of nostalgia and open-mindedness.