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SammyJay 07-09-2008 09:11 PM

Wilco-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
 
Wilco had been a decently straightforward rock band until the release of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, their complex masterpiece. Summerteeth showed them moving toward a more experimental sound, but nobody could've expected an album like this. Wilco shocked its fans, and even turned some of them off (Their dispute with their record label is well-known by now). But despite the possibility of turning people off by an almost complete reconstruction of their sound was a price the members of Wilco were willing to pay. They released their strange new album to an audience unaware of the masterful songs contained within it.

1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart-Right from the beginning of the song, an obvious change has taken place in Wilco's sound. Jeff Tweedy begins his poetic lyrics about drinking and heartbreak over an acoustic guitar, a strange drum beat, and even stranger noises. The song quietly moves along up until about the four minute mark, then during the last two minutes, the familar structure of the song gets lost in a wall of feedback, alarms, and other strange sound effects. It's a mesmerizing song, and sets the tone for the rest of the album.

2. Kamera-A rolling beat complete with muffled acoustic guitar drives this song along. It shows Wilco's pop sensiblity is still present, and that they can still be radio friendly if they want to be. The lyrics are very catchy as well, and are much less challenging than that of "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart."

3. Radio Cure-"Cheer up. Honey, I hope you can." The way Jeff sings this song perfectly illustrates the lyrics. The strange, almost psychadelic music backing the vocals adds to the sort of down-tempo mood of the song.

4. War On War-A simple, but very catchy song. It starts with an upbeat acoustic guitar. The drums kick in soon afterwards, and eventually the simple but effective lyrics chime in. The song is easy to sing along to and remember. Towards the end it gets a bit more experimental with strange sounds that sound like amplifiers picking up signals from space. That's what I got out of it...

5. Jesus ETC.-Every song on this classic album varies in style. The style of this song reminds me of lounge/coffeehouse-type music. The lyrics mention Jesus throughout the song, but I don't think it is a religous song. I just get that feeling. It's much too complex to be that straightforward...if you know what I mean. Very relaxing, poetic song.

6. Ashes of American Flags-No, this is not about the Semptember 11 attacks. It can't be. This song was written before that. It seems to just be about a person wishing for a better life. The lyrics are complete poetry and the music is leaning towards that more experimental sound that was present in "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart." A definite highlight.

7. Heavy Metal Drummer-If I had to pick the weakest track on the album, this would have to be it. Not saying this is a bad song, but it's not a GREAT song. It's the most upbeat on the entire album, and offers a nice little break from the more complex songs before it. The lyrics are quite stupid, but have a nostalgic feel to them.

8. I'm The Man Who Loves You-The album, starting with "Heavy Metal Drummer" and continuing through "Pot Kettle Black," has turned towards a more upbeat direction. This song is fun to listen to, and is one of the more catchy songs on the album.

9. Pot Kettle Black-This song continues the poppy format that the last two songs used. It is a very catchy, fun, and upbeat song.

10. Poor Places-This song is an absolute masterpiece. The lyrics, the music, and everything else. The song starts with feedback as the only instrument, as Jeff Tweedy comes in with masterful lyrics. The song slowly adds more instruments to the mix, and by the end of the song, a radio sample of a woman's voice repeating the album title over and over again is the only thing we can focus on. An absolute masterpiece.

11. Reservations-The album finshes with probably the slowest song on it. The first few minutes of the song are great. The lyrics and piano are very relaxing and put us in a peaceful mood. The song fades out, and the last few minutes become atmospheric with just the music playing and fading out. During these last, final minutes we are able to reflect on what an experience it was to be able to listen to such a spectacular album. The perfect closer for a perfect album.

cabangbangq 07-15-2008 11:15 AM

This is an awesome album and I love the direction that Wilco went with this. Cannot wait to see them live

SammyJay 07-16-2008 11:52 AM

Yeah..I will be seeing them at Lollapalooza. I can't wait.

divided sky 07-16-2008 06:14 PM

I love this album, but Summerteeth is still my favorite. Has anyone seen the dvd about the making of this album? There's some really great clips on youtube if I bother finding them, especially one about the making of Poor Places.

And hi, this is my first post. And yes, I also would love to see them live, esp. now with Nels Cline.

ipod junkie 08-22-2008 11:11 AM

Nice review SammyJay. I remember being obsessed with this album when it first came out. I think that the percussion on this particular album is quite unique especially on 'I am trying to break your heart'. I like the fact that they kept some of their pop sound for some of the songs. The mix of upbeat pop and dark lyrics is a feature of Wilco that I adore.

I would say that this is their 'masterpiece' but I really couldn't say which is my favourite album. I'm loving Sky Blue Sky at present.

newmath096 08-27-2008 03:29 PM

the most truthful album review that I've read


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