Wilco frontman sings of drugs, death and dental hygiene on solo album ‘Warm’

On Jeff Tweedy's recently released solo album, Warm, the Wilco frontman is plainspoken and casually personal, probably more so than he has ever been on a Wilco release. With soft but not necessarily safe production, Tweedy reckons with his past, present and future (which, of course, includes death) in a way that works as a companion piece to his recent memoir, Let's Go (So We Can Get Back).

Along the way, he addresses some of the criticisms lobbed at him over the years, namely that early-career Wilco albums like Being There, Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born were peak Wilco, and ever since, Tweedy has been writing adequate but unremarkable songs. Those early albums also coincided with Tweedy's heavy drug use, while the latter part of Wilco's 25-year career line up with Tweedy's sobriety.

Tweedy rejects that narrative, but does so in a way that exposes the salient point that critique overlooks: his survival. “Now people say/‘What drugs did you take, and why don't you start taking them again?'/But they're not my friends/And if I was dead, what difference would it ever make to them if I got high?” Tweedy sings on “Having Been Is No Way to Be.”

Warm is also the most hopeful Tweedy has sounded, even when he talks about every human's eventual fate. “We all think about dying/Don't let it kill ya,” he sings on “Don't Forget,” and in nearly the same breath he follows his own instructions, moving on to the next piece of sage advice: “Don't forget to brush your teeth.”