After a “relaxing” week off from training, aside from a few easy joyrides that is, I’m officially back in training mode. I started off yesterday with a challenging 3.25k interval swim set and followed that up with a steady 50k tempo ride yesterday morning bright and early. I was going to run in the evening yesterday as well but after a snafu at the car rental place my run was postponed and I went for a fun ‘Stage 1 of the Tour De Ridgeway‘ bike ride with HRH instead. I was going to run this morning instead but I’m a lazy ass and I rolled over for another hours sleep.
That means then I’m just kick-starting my run program this evening – WEDNESDAY – instead beginning with this easy 5.25k run before dinner. More than anything, it’s an excuse to listen to the new Wilco album ‘Star Wars‘.
Released via a free download over the Internet last week (July 16th), the band is labeling as a “random act of love” for it’s fans – their first since 2011’s ‘The Whole Love‘. Lucky us! Oh, and then there the UH-mazing album cover of a fluffy white kitty coupled with the cool album name because, hey why not? How awesome is that?
Clearly this was aimed at breaking the Internet. My familiarity of Wilco tells me that my first listen will be more of a “meh, it’s…okay” kind of response. But after the second listen a few hooks will begin to grab you and an initial ear worm will sink in and then another, another, another, and before you know it you’ve listens to the album 6 kazillion times and you can’t imagine life without it. I didn’t have that response to this album. I knew almost instantly that my life would never be the same and I’m fully embracing this whole “Dad Rock” thing now.
The space theme implied by the title suits this collection of 11 tracks, which drift further out into the experimental realm than anything the band has done previously. The album opens with ‘EKG‘, a short, cranky instrumental freakout of Beefheart-like proportions. The band has proven prone to these stabs at the avant, but the opening track is less a diversion and more of a sign of what’s to follow. ‘More…‘ (which is one of those ear worms I just talked about) and ‘Random Name Generator‘ revel in quirky glam rock (which suits my recent musical interests), while Tweedy’s relaxed vocals sound lost in a hazy stupor on the Bowie-esque ‘The Joke Explained‘. Oh, and there are simply not enough words in the human vocabulary to accurately describe the total epic awesomeness that is ‘You Satellite‘. Even when the band appears to straighten out for a few of its patented heart-on-sleeve folk pop tunes, they can’t totally ward off the record’s overt flair for the experimental. Odd guitar effects on the otherwise straight-laced ‘Taste the Ceiling‘ give the song a hypnotic kick, while ‘Where Do I Begin‘ similarly gets detoured away from Tweedy’s sweetheart folk pop. ‘Cold Slope‘ is a beautiful slow burning number and the album closer ‘Magnetized‘ is the perfect dreamy post workout walking recovery back to my driveway.
This will be equivalent of the Kingston Trio album that my dad would have rambled on about when I was a kid; the album that – for whatever reason – had left a huge impression on him and with which he inevitably had a lot of fond memories attached to. This will likely be one of those albums for me. It’s that damn good.
Bring it on.