The new record is due out on October 4 via the band’s own label dBpm Records, following 2016’s understated Schmilco. Ode to Joy will feature 11 songs written and produced by singer Jeff Tweedy. It was recorded at The Loft in Chicago at the beginning of this year.
Tweedy wrote a small explanatory statement in a press release to accompany the new track:
“There MUST be more love than hate. Right?! I’m not always positive we can be so sure. In any case, I’m starting to feel like being confident in that equation isn’t always the best motivation for me to be my best self—it can kind of let me off the hook a little bit when I think I should be striving to contribute more love outside of my comfortable sphere of family and friends.
So… I guess the song is sort of a warning to myself that YES, Love IS EVERYWHERE, but also BEWARE! I can’t let that feeling absolve me of my duty to create more (sic).”
He expanded further for NPR, writing that the song is “a reminder to myself to act with more love and courage and less outrage and anesthetized fear.” The rest of the record, he says, uses joy in the face of hate and global upheaval.
“This terrible stuff is happening, this deepening sense of creeping authoritarianism that weighs on everybody’s psyche on a daily basis, and you’re allowed to feel a lot of things at once. And one thing that is worth feeling, that is worth fighting for, is your freedom to still have joy even though things are going to shit.”
The new track is, as its title suggests, quite joyous. The trilling guitars are far brighter than the morosity of much of the band’s output; the lyrics are gentle. It signals a mature sound a late-career band like Wilco would do well with.
Tweedy released his first two solo records late last year and April this year; Warm and its companion Warmer respectively. They are touring the record across the U.S for the rest of the year.
Ode to Joy is set for an October 4 release via dBpm records. Feeling reflective about Wilco’s career? Check out the ridiculous box set they released late last year, sold with an axe.