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Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

October 18, 2014

[Album 353/1001]220px-WilcoYankeeHotelFoxtrot

Hindsight is effortless.

Some publisher decisions seem ludicrous with the rear-view mirror advantage.  Harry Potter? Rejected a dozen times!

Record labels & their executives have racked up some equally nonsensical rejections/objections over the years.

I talked about two of my favourite label gaffes (Sloan & Marvin Gaye) in my first review of the 1001 project, the exemplary What’s Going On.

Add a third to the list: the saga of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (YHF).

They say a standard hit song has the foreseeable format of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wants girl back.

Classic albums often follow another 3-step predictable pattern: Band records great album, Label doesn’t smell a hit & rejects accordingly and finally one way or another, the album eventually gets the glowing reception it deserved in the first place.

To be fair, companies need sales to remain solvent.  Decision-makers must act in the best interest of stake/stockholders.  Also, in the early 2000s, Garage rock was ‘in’ and Wilco lacked the requisite ‘the’ in front of their band name.

But seriously, what was Reprise Records thinking?!

Reprise was right in one sense: YHF doesn’t have a surefire single like Being There‘s Outtasite (Outta Mind).

Instead, it is a cohesive & decadent 11-song set that is more than worthy of the many plaudits it has received.

A slow-burn perhaps but it’s another gem from Jeff Tweedy & co.

From → 2000s

  1. Probably my favourite Wilco album. I love the swaying emotional movements and the genteel addition of some noise (I blame Nils Cline).


    Would love to hear what your heard that produced the work ‘decadent’.

    • Thanks Bruce – I believe the decadence lies partly in the dissonance, the genteel added noise as you said!

  2. One of my all-timers …

  3. The Wilco seed never fertilised in my, umm, soil (Note to self, avoid seed metaphors in future). Maybe if they had been called The Wilcos and covered ‘Louie, Louie’ a lot …

  4. A bit overrated I think when you look at in hindsight, but still a very good album from a very good band. Good review.

    • My thanks Dan – I’d agree, perhaps not their finest but certainly an album that ought to have been released!

  5. ianbalentine permalink

    Agree with CMrok93, in a way. Still has its share of stunners, but I think Summerteeth and A ghost Is Born are better.

    • And because Being there was my gateway, it will likely be my favourite indefinitely! Which I suppose having several solid records to choose from is a nice problem. Would they qualify in the 5 consecutive challenge?

  6. ianbalentine permalink

    I wasn’t particularly enamored with Sky Blue Sky. and the debut was kind of Uncle Tupelo-lite IMO, so that would make it from Being There through A Ghost, so…4. Now, if The Whole Love had been released after A Ghost Is Born, I’d definitely say “YES”.

  7. Wilco frickin’ rules, man.

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