Sound — 10
Wilco's sound on this album is mixture of old and new. The sound of the first two tracks hearkens back to older musical textures. The organ playing on the first track reminded me of The Band. While part of the album seems very mature and relaxed compared to previous releases, the addition of Nels Cline definitely brings a progressive sort of edge to the album. For example, Side with the Seeds goes places that previous Wilco just couldn't, and actually makes you think at points "they're shredding up some progressive rock." Some great keyboard textures on the track really add to that. Overall the songwriting is really good, especially "Please be Patient with Me," which is becoming one of my favorite Wilco songs.
Lyrics — 8
Tweedy gives a solid performance on this album. His voice comes off a little differently from previous albums like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, where at times I thought he was trying to sound too much like Stephen Malkmus of Pavement. Vocals here are a little more restrained than previous albums, but lyrically he still remains brilliant. Good lyrics throughout the album, although the chorus of "What Light" is repeated a bit too much for me.
Overall Impression — 9
This doesn't feature the really incredible pop-sensible songwriting that I loved about Summerteeth, but comes with a much more mature (while still innovative) sound. I really like Nels Cline's contributions to the band, and the album has a great feel to it. My favorite tracks are "Please be Patient with Me," "Side with the Seeds," "Sky Blue Sky," and "You are My Face," among other great additions. The only thing that irks me about this album is the song order regarding the first two tracks. They both start at the same tempo in the same key! While this threw me off at first, overall the album is great, and is definitely one of my favorite Wilco albums.