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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

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I wrote this review originally in April (on a now defunct blog). As I was considering blogcritics.org, I thought of my favorite CDs. As I lay in bed thinking of the best CDs in my collection (especially the ones that get recycled often), the haunting beautiful Yankee Hotel Foxtrot began to play in my head.

Here is my review soon after hearing the CD. I follow with my comments 4 months later.

Stop reading, go buy Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco

Bought Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on its release date. Have listened to it almost continuously since then. I listen to many CDs and occasionally have addiction overcome my senses. This time it’s major. The music is imprinting my cerebrum, the sonic manipulations haunt my waking hours.

The story of Wilco’s CD is apparently well known, but I haven’t been a Wilco fan. You can read the story elsewhere, but the gist follows. This CD was delivered to Reprise records who demanded major changes. Wilco refused, paid $50,000 to retain ownership of the CD, and shopped it around, settling on Nonesuch Records (interesting owned by the same company as Reprise). The CD was made available by Wilco on their web site until Tuesday’s release.

So what’s the fuss? Wilco has 11 beautfully constructed songs punctuated by sounds (reminds me of late Beatles or Radiohead). I can’t even tell you which songs are favorites. As each one starts, my excitement returns.

Jeff Tweedy writes about love; he writes about chaos; sometimes both together. I wish I know how to describe music. Since I don’t, I urge you to find a listening bar and try the CD. Or just take my word for it.

Who won’t like it? Those who like simple pop noise. 14 year old girls won’t like it or the group (they aren’t cute or sexy). Those who like simple songs and top 40 radio. And apparently idiot music executives didn’t like it. Obviously, being a music executive has nothing to do with liking music.

Sometimes you know after a few listenings that music has staying power. I still like Sgt. Peppers, Court of the Crimson King, Chicago Transit Authority, Disraeli Gears, Remember Two Things, etc. This CD ranks in that personal pantheon. Having reread my review, I had it mostly right. The songs are complex, yet catchy in their own way. Tweedy uses many extraneous sounds, but they seem perfect for the CD. If you do not know this CD, please find a way to sample it. I hope you like it as much as I do.

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About Robert M. Centor

  • My thoughts exactly, down to the Radiohead and Beatles comparison. It’s like the alt.country Kid A. That record execs thought this was too inaccessible makes me happy to impoverish them with file sharing. Best album I’ve heard in years…