• Record Label: dBpm
  • Release Date: Oct 4, 2019
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
Buy On
  1. Uncut
    Sep 30, 2019
    90
    Finely honed reflections that add a new perspective to the conversation of politics. ... The songs here are simple, but they contain multitudes. [Oct 2019, p.25]
  2. 85
    Such moments of challenging, bold experimentation (which Wilco hasn't really bothered with off-stage on this scale for a while), coupled with a set of by turns desolate and uplifting, strange and sweet tunes, makes Ode to Joy mandatory listening for anyone interested in the enduring creative potential of rock - sorry, folk – music.
  3. Oct 7, 2019
    84
    There’s nothing about Ode to Joy that is meant to set the airwaves afire. It’s raw elegance; a surplus of creativity delivered with equal portions of restraint.
  4. Oct 14, 2019
    80
    It's a multi-layered affair but each one provokes serious feelings and thoughts for those who peel them back.
  5. 80
    It all adds up to yet another winning set from a band still to release a subpar album in a 25-year career.
  6. Oct 4, 2019
    80
    The most striking aspect of Ode to Joy is how weary Tweedy sounds. From upfront political themes (Citizens, which wavers and rumbles with minor harmonies, lines about white lies, and distorted guitars) to thoughts of personal tragedy (White Wooden Cross), there's one clear conclusion: Tweedy is beaten down. But Tweedy is at his best when he's processing that exhaustion.
  7. Oct 4, 2019
    80
    These are songs where the expressiveness of the lyrics and the baldness of the music – usually big, simple blocks, put together like Lego – work in tandem. The plainness of the instrumentation heightens the uncertainty and ambivalence in Tweedy’s writing.
  8. Ode to Joy is the culmination of a musical evolution Wilco have been working towards for years. Ode to Joy holds a microscope to the small moments of life – which, thanks to the current political landscape, we’re often in danger of missing – and encourages us to see and cherish them.
  9. Oct 4, 2019
    80
    Ode to Joy reveals that after their sabbatical, Wilco are more than willing to explore the boundaries of their music, and they do so with the confidence and sense of daring that has marked their best work from Being There onward.
  10. 80
    This is a quietly momentous album of depth, soothing in its introspection.
  11. Oct 2, 2019
    80
    Ode To Joy shows off some of Wilco’s prettiest and most comforting songs, Tweedy’s enlarged heart transplanted back into a band — its lineup now unchanged for roughly half of its 25-year history — that’s never sounded more empathic.
  12. Sep 30, 2019
    80
    In trying times, Wilco have found some joy in creativity and made another album true to themselves, full of “poetry and magic” to console and inspire.
  13. Mojo
    Sep 30, 2019
    80
    This is a sparse, minimalist ode to joy. [Nov 2019, p.88]
  14. Q Magazine
    Sep 30, 2019
    80
    Ode To Joy shivers on this ledge between defiance and dissolution. Despite Tweedy's fears, it turns out more Wilco music is exactly what's needed. [Nov 2019, p.117]
  15. Oct 8, 2019
    78
    Ode to Joy’s beguiling folk songs are direct and generous, quiet sounds coming from a big room.
  16. 75
    Ode to Joy reminds us of how good the band can be with the benefit of time and deliberation.
  17. Oct 4, 2019
    75
    There’s a subtle, but detectable, undercurrent of joy here—not in the subject matter, but in the music itself, as if each song represents a little burst of gratitude shared among the musicians who made it. That Wilco can still summon that sense of buoyancy on their 11th album should be gratifying to listeners, too. It’s a sign that the band continues to grow and evolve, which makes these songs a fitting ode indeed.
  18. Oct 3, 2019
    75
    Ode to Joy is a seemingly small-scale record; a pale-skinned beauty of an album that has much to say, says it deliberately, often quietly; like a whisper of advice from an old friend reminding you that you, me, we... need to carry on.
  19. Oct 7, 2019
    70
    It’s difficult to escape the fact that there is little to commend Ode to Joy for beyond its exceptionally competent loveliness. That is, however, no reason to completely disregard it.
  20. Oct 4, 2019
    70
    nyone who comes to “Ode to Joy” expecting Beethovenian rapture and millions embracing will likely be perplexed by this enigmatic 11-song collection. The album is mostly slow and muted. ... You have to listen hard for the joy, but in the end it’s there — the kind of joy of that’s hard-won and never fully shakes off the difficult and broken world from which it emerges.
  21. Oct 4, 2019
    70
    Tthe album is a bit monochromatic, lacking the classic guitar heroism that has, in the past, allowed Wilco to buck the dad-rock label. Twelve years on from Sky Blue Sky, the band would benefit from opening up their sound again—and getting a little bit weird.
  22. Oct 4, 2019
    70
    All in all, Ode to Joy is a solid album, if a bit on the languid side, but feels more like a Jeff Tweedy solo album than a proper Wilco album.
  23. Oct 4, 2019
    63
    Though it encompasses traditional elements, “Ode to Joy” falls on the quirkier side of the Wilco spectrum, an album that prizes subtlety and intimacy over immediacy and dynamics.
  24. Oct 15, 2019
    60
    The record doesn't entirely succeed, but these tracks are built on durable structures and sentiments that make them deserving of the focus they'll likely receive.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 2 out of 23
  1. Oct 5, 2019
    10
    Beautiful album. Takes a few listens to get into it, but it is 100% worth it.
  2. Oct 18, 2019
    8
    “Ode To Joy” is the 11th studio album from these iconic Americana legends out of Chicago. Wilco has always expanded and experimented with“Ode To Joy” is the 11th studio album from these iconic Americana legends out of Chicago. Wilco has always expanded and experimented with their roots, augmenting their trademark sound with everything from pure pop to eclectic soundscaping rock. Here, they mix melody with a quiet, revelatory intensity. Downtempo ballads move into weary-but-warm pop moments. Tweedy’s voice is affable and revealing; Nels Cline’s guitars are naturally complimentary. melancholy morphs into moments of exhilaration; tranquility takes a break to let the band breathe and rock out occasionally. Members have also played in Boxhead Ensemble, Loose fur, Golden Fog, The Minus 5, The Geraldine Fibbers, Uncle Tupelo, The Autumn Defense, more. “Ode To Joy” covers a lot of ground, showcasing the band’s diversity and natural talent, while remaining cohesive and compelling. I’m on my third listen and it’s getting stronger with each one. Recommended. Full Review »