Wilco muses on happiness and loss in new album

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Wilco's "Schmilco" (dBpm Records) finds the Chicago sextet in a mostly acoustic mood, musing on happiness, loneliness, isolation and loss.

Not exactly arena rock anthem material.

And that should hearten even the most hardened Wilco fan.

"Schmilco" takes a break from Wilco's last three records that saw them delving heavily into loud electric rock in sometimes brilliant fashion. Instead, it feels more akin to "Sukierae," the 2014 side project by lead singer and songwriter Jeff Tweedy and his son.

The songs are still melodic, although sometimes dissonant and in minor chords, perfectly matching with the biting lyrics longtime Wilco followers have come to appreciate from Tweedy. He's described the record, Wilco's 10th, as "joyously negative," and it is.

"I always hated those normal American kids," Tweedy sweetly sings on the opener "Normal American Kids," one of the standout tracks.

And on the ironically titled "Happiness," Tweedy delivers this gut-punch: "Happiness depends on who you blame."

"Schmilco" will make a lot of music fans happy, and you can blame Tweedy and company for that.


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