Schmilco is the 10th album by Wilco. It was released on September 9th of this year on Dbpm records. For everyone who has never heard of Wilco, they’re a Chicago based alternative rock band led by lead singer/songwriter Jeff Tweedy. Tweedy was once a member of the band Uncle Tupelo in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but formed Wilco out of Uncle Tupelo in 1994. Wilco is most well known for their 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is widely known as one of the best albums of the early 2000s and maybe alt. rock in general.
As I mentioned before, Wilco has been around since 1994, and they have a pretty large catalogue of albums over the past 22 years. Usually by this point in time, bands that have been around for that long aren’t as good as they used to be. Recently I’ve read some articles about Wilco, with one of the biggest points that comes up being that Wilco has become a “dad rock” band in a way. I think that’s interesting because usually the term “dad rock” refers to bands that your dad would listen to. You wouldn’t think an alternative rock band like Wilco would be categorized within the same grouping as The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones, would you? Well in a way I can see it, being that most of the members of the band are in their mid to late-40s and Wilco has been around for quite a while. However, while other bands that have been around for a good 20 years tend to get a little stale, this is not the case for Wilco, and certainly for Schmilco either.
Borrowing the album name inspiration off of Harry Nilsson’s album Schmillson, Schmilco is a delightful album that will please first time listeners and longtime Wilco fans alike. Pretty much the whole album has an overall acoustic, folky, and softer sound to it, with heavy use of acoustic guitars and other simplistic instruments. It has a very easygoing and almost nostalgic tone to it, with Tweedy telling stories of his past as well as his family. It also has straightforward lyrics that makes the album very easy and approachable to listen to. It’s not as complex as some of their other releases in the past, but that isn’t very much of a problem. My personal favorite tracks are “Quarters,” which is a nice song with a great fingerpicking style which I love. “Normal American Kids” which is the first song on the album, is a simple tune with what I think are the best lyrics on the album. It’s an instantly classic and beautiful song that was a great choice for an album opener. Other standout tracks include “Locator,” “Someone to Lose,” “Just say Goodbye,” and “If I ever was a Child.” Overall Schmilco was an excellent album that I enjoyed a lot. I would recommend this album to people who love folk music and nostalgic songwriting.