Jeff Tweedy - “Love Is the King” Review

Story posted October 29, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment by Caelan Chevrier.

Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy is back, spreading positivity and care on his newest record “Love Is The King.”

From over 20 years of Wilco material and his critically acclaimed 2018 solo debut, Tweedy has proved himself to be an intricate songwriter with plenty to say. Tweedy even released a book earlier this month, “How to Write One Song,” on his creative process when it comes to writing and recording music.

“Love Is The King” shows Tweedy taking another leap forward in his songwriting with some of the most unique lyrical choices and song structures as a whole in his career. A majority of the songs do not have verses and choruses but instead are made up of hymns and poems.

Tweedy wrote the entire album with his two sons in his private home studio. On the record, Tweedy calls out several times to his family, and he is grateful that he can be with them during quarantine.

Thematically, Tweedy is focused on his personal experiences during this time of change rather than the bigger picture as a whole. Tweedy finds his happiness in his creativity and believes what the title of the record expresses: love triumphs over all.

Tweedy sees that there is power in unity and bonding. Tweedy sings about his wife on “Even I Can See:”  “I laugh and I cry, I live and I die, By her side.”

There is some sadness in songs like “Bad Day Lately” and “Troubled” where Tweedy is afraid of being alone, but this doesn’t trump the amount of warmth this album radiates.

Here, Tweedy is responsible for all of the instrumentation on the record, aside from the drumming that his son plays. The album is very coherent as there is an overarching mellow indie-folk aesthetic present in every song.

The tempo on most tracks are relatively slow, giving the listener a sense of calmness and space to breathe. However, songs like “Gwendolyn” and “Natural Disaster” are nice needed breaks that happen to be especially catchy too.

A majority of the songs are very simple, but the ones that stand out the most are when they deviate from the repetition. This is mostly thanks to Tweedy’s guitar work where the tones of the electric guitars give the songs extra layers that help them stand out.

When he double tracks on songs like “A Robin or a Wren,” Tweedy’s voice sounds passionate and incredible, especially for someone who is 53.

The little details matter.

The singer ends the record on “Half Asleep” by singing “I'll be there when you need me, there's no other, there's no one but you.”

Through his pain and suffering, he realizes that things will be okay in the end and that he ensures it will be for his listeners too. The entire album feels like a verbal hug. It acknowledges that there is plenty bad in the world but focuses on endearment.

There is nothing to dislike here. “Love Is The King” may not immediately grab new listeners' attention but to Jeff Tweedy and Wilco fans alike, it does not disappoint.

Through incredible songwriting, unique instrumentation and euphonious homely aesthetic, Jeff Tweedy has created something impactful that any listener could take something away from.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “A Robin or a Wren,” “Even I Can See,” “Natural Disaster” 

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “Save It for Me”

Caelan Chevrier is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact him, email cjc6789@psu.edu.

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Caelan Chevrier

Freshman / Journalism

Caelan Chevrier is a first-year student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University studying broadcast journalism with the goal of graduating with a bachelor’s degree in four years. His plan is to get involved in numerous media-related clubs during his stay. His career goal is to spread informative, meaningful and entertaining content across various platforms and to be a positive impact on the community. If you’d like to contact him, email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).