Review: Jeff Tweedy — Love Is The King

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020 at 1:39 PM
Review: Jeff Tweedy — Love Is The King by Teddy Rankin

Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to make us realize what is important in life, as well as what we have taken for granted. Throughout this rollercoaster year and the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of us have experienced ups and downs. For Grammy-winning artist Jeff Tweedy and his family, the virus created an opportunity to spend quality time with each other while making music. The result, “Love Is The King,” is yet another beautiful and timeless album from the Wilco frontman. 

Tweedy told NPR that the pandemic caused his two sons to spend more time around the house, leading to recurring livestream sessions called “The Tweedy Show,” as well as this newest release. The younger Tweedys, Sammy (20) and Spencer (24), both contribute to the album, which benefits from the intimacy that comes with a family record. 

The album’s opener and title track describes the divine energy of love, present even when things go wrong. In a verse sung from the perspective of a boxer, Tweedy consoles his loved ones: “But cry don’t you dare / When I die in the ring / Life isn’t fair / Love is the king.” This song, like the rest of the album, is fairly minimalist, employing sparse and tasteful instrumentation to compliment Tweedy’s recognizable vocals. Some of the accompaniment is intentionally left imperfect (for example, this track’s guitar solo) to add authenticity and even more heart.

A few tracks later, on “A Robin or A Wren,” Tweedy discusses how those we lose are never really gone from our lives. Through the song, he sings about reincarnating as a bird and tweeting a familiar tune to those he’s left behind. And in the track’s sincere ending, the songwriter pens, “And then a teardrop will fall / Into the corner of the smile / On your face / And I’ll be alive.” Tweedy’s son, Sammy, shines on this song with his addition of some family harmony.

In keeping with the theme of family and love, Tweedy writes about his wife of 25 years on “Even I Can See.” This is one of the best love songs you’ll hear in 2020, thanks to the heartfelt lyrics and gorgeous acoustic guitar fingerpicking. He lovingly sings, I was never one who needed to believe / In a god hard to find / But I found by her side / There's a god / Even I can see.”

Like so many of us, the Tweedy family has demonstrated their unique ability to make the best of an imperfect situation. In their case, they chose to use the extra time gifted to them by the universe to be together and record some lovely music about the spirituality of love and family. “Love Is The King” is an expertly executed homemade album that is perfectly easy to listen to. If you are not already quarantining with (and thus, growing weary of) your family, this album will make you want to give them a call.

Teddy Rankin is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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