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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Release Date: 04.23.02
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.


I Would Like to Salute...
by: bill aicher

You wake in the middle of the night, worrying, drenched in sweat. Why did you wake? Suddenly your questions return to you... you're wondering "Where has all the great rock 'n' roll gone to? Where are the days when rock was innovative enough to actually go someplace interesting and new, yet remain accessible enough to be truly enjoyable?"

And it's buzzing in your ears, over and over and over...

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ... Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ... Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ...

Three years have passed since Wilco's last true studio album, Summer Teeth, was released. A sonic triumph in its own right, Summer Teeth, found this group of alt-country rockers venturing more into rock than country areas, and was hailed by fans and critics alike as one of the greatest albums of 1999. Foxtrot continues this journey, while at the same time finding Wilco with a heavily-changed lineup, including the loss of Jay Bennett and the additions of Glenn Kotche and Leory Bach.

Upon first listen, it's evident Foxtrot continues in the dirge-like depression heavily present on Summer Teeth. Life is about love, love is about pain, and pain and love make excellent songwriting material. The album opener "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" finds Tweedy contemplating his true stance in a relationship, going back and forth between how he really feels and how he wants to feel. It's indecisively cruel, yet lonely and heartwrenching at once.

The album does, however, pick things up in places such as the single "Heavy Metal Drummer." A nostalgiac look back at the infatuations people have with the rock and roll lifestyle, it's the album's most carefree moment, and an example of why the band has come as far as it has.

For an act to have come so far since the early days of Uncle Tupelo, and up through what is basically five Wilco albums (excluding Foxtrot) a band has to grow. And this is where Wilco shows their truest inspirations. While they were dropped from the Reprise label due to a corporate unhappiness with the final product, Nonesuch saw that Wilco has done what few artists have done: Make pop music that is daring and innovative enough to make people say "Wow, now that's an amazing record."

You'll feel it yourself as the Beatles-esque "Day In The Life" cacophony builds at the end of the uber-track "Poor Places."

The best music is the music that sends chills down your spine as you listen to it... the music that you can't help but sit in awe of. It's rare that it happens, but when it does you never forget it.

Wilco have built an entire album around this feeling. 17-Apr-2002 6:30 PM