Review / Download / Stream: Wilco's Surprise Full-Length Album "Star Wars"

Wilco released an unannounced album today titled Star Wars. The album features 11 previously unreleased compositions, and is available for free at for a limited time.

As the silly name and feline album-art might make one suspect, the record isn’t a proper follow-up to The Whole Love, but sounds self-recorded and produced.

However, this isn’t to say the material is weak.

While instrumental opener “EKG” feels like a bit of a throwaway, “More…” sounds like a fully realized Wilco track, full of great guitar lines and a bouncy feel provided by drums and organ.

“Random Name Generator” is a guitar-based track similar to “I’m A Wheel,” while “The Joke Explained” focuses on Tweedy’s rambling vocals, though again giving way to heavily distorted guitar.

All of the tracks are short and sweet until “Satellite.”

Placed at the center of the tracklist, “Satellite” is a five-minute piece featuring layers of jagged guitars. An extended, spacey jam seems to spin endlessly onward, building to a noisy height, an experimental track by Wilco’s standards.

On songs like this, the ‘live recording’ feel works in the band’s favor, demonstrating the group’s cohesiveness in playing together.

The murky “Pickled Ginger” shows a minimalist punk influence, the entire song impossibly simple. “Where Do I Begin” may feature Tweedy’s best songwriting in the batch of songs, but remains a simple and straightforward ballad until it’s explosive finale.

“Cold Slope” boasts a hard-rocking groove, similar to much of A Ghost Is Born, and is paired perfectly with “King Of You,” which features a similar guitar-based groove. Of all of Star Wars, these are the tracks that Wilco fans will most likely latch on to.

“Magnetized” is a perfect album closer, a cinematic piano ballad with a simple vocal hook.

Though Wilco’s reasoning for releasing this album for free is uncertain, there’s no denying that it’s a good batch of songs. Star Wars feels like Wilco simply jamming songs out, doing their thing and chasing ideas as they come. The raw production is something fans aren’t used to, but may actually help the guitar-oriented album establish the right vibe. Like the production, this is Wilco at their rawest.

Download Star Wars at or stream via YouTube. 


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