Wilco Announce New Double Album, ‘Cruel Country’
Wilco will release their 12th album next month. The double Cruel Country arrives on May 27.
A press release describes the album as a "loose conceptual narrative on the history of the United States." "It’s all mixed up and mixed in, the way my personal feelings about America are often woven with all of our deep collective myths," frontman Jeff Tweedy said in a statement. "Simply put, people come and problems emerge. Worlds collide. It’s beautiful. And cruel.”
Cruel Country is Wilco's first new album since 2019's Ode to Joy. The band — Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche, Mikael Jorgensen, Pat Sansone and Nels Cline – recorded the album's 21 songs together at the Loft studio in Chicago, resulting in an LP made up of almost all live takes, with only a few overdubs.
"It’s a style of recording that forces a band to surrender control and learn to trust each other, along with each others’ imperfections, musical and otherwise," Tweedy said. “But when it’s working the way it’s supposed to, it feels like gathering around some wild collective instrument, one that requires six sets of hands to play.”
The first single from the upcoming record, "Falling Apart (Right Now)," can be heard below.
In their early days, Wilco were regularly labeled alt-country, a description the band was a little uncomfortable with at first. Two decades later, the genre now serves as an open door for his songwriting, Tweedy noted. "Having been around the block a few times, we’re finding it exhilarating to free ourselves within the form, and embrace the simple limitation of calling the music we’re making country," he said. "More than any other genre, country music, to me, a white kid from middle-class middle America, has always been the ideal place to comment on what most troubles my mind—which for more than a little while now has been the country where I was born, these United States."
"And because it is the country I love, and because it’s country music that I love, I feel a responsibility to investigate their mirrored problematic natures. I believe it’s important to challenge our affections for things that are flawed. Country music is simply designed to aim squarely at the low-hanging fruit of the truth. If someone can sing it, and it’s given a voice… well, then it becomes very hard not to see. We’re looking at it. It’s a cruel country, and it’s also beautiful. Love it or leave it. Or if you can’t love it, maybe you’ve already left."
The same weekend of Cruel Country's release, Wilco will perform songs from the album for the first time at the Solid Sound Festival in North Adams, Mass. The LP is now available for preorder. You can see the track listing below.
Wilco, 'Cruel Country' Track Listing
1. "I Am My Mother"
2. "Cruel Country"
5. "The Empty Condor"
6. "Tonight’s The Day"
7. "All Across The World"
8. "Darkness Is Cheap"
9. "Bird Without A Tail / Base Of My Skull"
10. "Tired Of Taking It Out On You"
11. "The Universe"
12. "Many Worlds"
13. "Hearts Hard To Find"
14. "Falling Apart (Right Now)"
15. "Please Be Wrong"
16. "Story To Tell"
17. "A Lifetime To Find"
18. "Country Song Upside-down"
19. "Mystery Binds"
20. "Sad Kind Of Way"
21. "The Plains"