Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Friday, January 2, 2009
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

I have to be honest here – it took me a long time to come around to loving this album. I stole it from the Iowa City Library. By stole, I mean checked it out and ripped in onto my computer. Where it stayed for six odd months, collecting cyberdust.

I stole a lot of music from that beloved library, which acted more as a video or music store than a place to enlighten one’s mind with books. Seriously, everyone who went there was either checking out music or a movie. But I digress. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

I don’t really know what the title means, but the album cover is pretty cool, half the reason I had to “steal” it. I assume it’s a photo of the said hotel. But the lyrics and music are catchy, dark, and like nothing I have ever heard before. Mind, I got this album a year or so ago. Since then, I’ve collected the rest of Wilco’s discography, which, oddly enough, is collecting cyberdust as I write this. Poor Wilco! You deserve better.

They really do, because they are amazing. I now love Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is like the girlfriend you don’t really like at first but after a while you stick with her because you know you can’t do any better. That’s a terrible analogy. Rather, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is like going out on a date three times with the same girl and not being too impressed because she seems a little dark and strange. But on the fourth time, you’re eyes are magically opened to her rare kind of beauty that is all but conventional – and you keep coming back  to discover more and more niches and crannies of her thick and intricate soul.

Enough of my terrible analogies. Songs I love: “Jesus Etc.,” “Ashes of American Flags,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” and “Radio Cure.” All are truly heartfelt – in true country fashion these songs pull at your heartstrings with every line and chord change. Warm, yet dark. I know Wilco aren’t really “country,” but like good country, they pull off the heart-tugging effect masterfully.

I’ve heard Wilco called “America’s response to Radiohead.” Well…I’m not too sure about that. I don’t see it, except maybe both use electronica in their respective genres. So do a whole lot of other bands. Go figure.

In a similar vein, I’ve heard the electronica often turns people off of Wilco, and in particular, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Well, those people are stupid. This album is not.

One comment

  1. Hi there,

    I stumbled upon this entry because I’m working on a new audio feature for the Georgetown Radio blog where I hope to highlight older or classic albums, not by doing short writeups on the albums themselves or the facts about them, but by collecting people’s stories and memories about them. I’d like to start off working on a piece about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and I LOVED that you discovered this album by stealing it from a library–I think that would be a great addition. You can read a bit more about the concept for the project here: http://re-stacks-radio.tumblr.com/

    If you think this is something you’d like to get involved with, let me know and I can give you some more details.


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