Wilco is an alternative rock/alt-country band from Chicago
. After the band Uncle Tupelo split, Jay Farrar started Son Volt while Jeff Tweedy started Wilco. Originally the band had a heavy alternative country
influence, but shifted in a more Progressive Rock
direction with later releases. In addition to their original work, they also released two albums in collaboration with English folksinger Billy Bragg, in which they took unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics and set them to music.
- A.M. (1995)
- Being There (1996)
- Summerteeth (1999)
- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
- A Ghost Is Born (2004)
- Kicking Television: Live in Chicago (2005)
- Sky Blue Sky (2007)
- Wilco (The Album) (2009)
- The Whole Love (2011)
With Billy Bragg:
- Mermaid Avenue (1998)
- Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2000)
- Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions (2012), which includes both of the above plus the previously unreleased Vol. III
- Man in the Sand (1999)
- I Am Trying to Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco (2002)
- Ashes of American Flags (2009)
- Album Title Drop: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in "Poor Places". "A Ghost is Born" in "Theologians"
- Animated Music Video: The music video for "Dawned on Me", featuring none other than Popeye and the band itself.
- Breakup Breakout: Jeff Tweedy formed the band after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, but nowadays people are more familiar with Wilco.
- Curse Cut Short: "Monday" ends with a shouted "Son of a...!"
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: Averted. They encourage recording of their live shows.
- Distinct Double Album: Being There. Rather unusual in that this was done for artistic reasons rather than space limitations. (Tweedy actually agreed to take a loss on royalties for the album in exchange for the label agreeing to retail it at a single-album price.)
- Drone of Dread: "Less Than You Think"
- Epic Rocking: Particularly on A Ghost is Born and The Whole Love. "Art of Almost" clocks in at seven minutes, while two songs from Ghost are ten minutes and fifteen respectively (Spiders and Less Than You Think). Subverted with "One Sunday Morning", which, at 12 minutes, is certainly epic, but is almost entirely acoustic, and Less Than You Think, which contains about three minutes of acoustic, followed by twelve minutes of feedback.
- Sky Blue Sky has "Impossible Germany", which isn't as long as the other examples, but is a more conventional form of Epic Rocking due to a guitar solo occupying its last several minutes.
- Generation Xerox: Tweedy's son Spencer is a talented musician in his own right.
- Heavy Meta: "Heavy Metal Drummer". Subverted in that it's not a heavy metal song.
- "Wilco (The Song)" probably counts too, due to being self-referential.
- Last Note Nightmare: Several tracks on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born degenerate into white noise at the end.
- "Ashes of American Flags" combines this with Fading into the Next Song, as warped snippets of "Heavy Metal Drummer" can be heard near the end of it.
- "Poor Places" actually includes an Album Title Drop in the middle of its concluding noise freakout.
- "Less Than You Think" might be the most notorious example, tacking upwards of ten minutes of hellish noise onto the end of an otherwise soft and unassuming acoustic song. Might also be a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin, since the actual song ends less than a third of the way into the track.
- Likes Older Women: Tweedy's wife is almost exactly ten years older than him.
- Live Album: Kicking Television
- Not Christian Rock: "Christ for President", "Airline to Heaven"
- Perishing Indie Rock Voice: Prevalent on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, especially in "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart".
- Posthumous Collaboration: The Mermaid Avenue project.
- Protest Song: As you might suspect from the Guthrie/Bragg connection, the Mermaid Avenue albums have a few of these: "Christ for President", "The Unwelcome Guest", "All You Fascists", etc.
- Revolving Door Band: Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt have been the only constants in Wilco's two-decade-long history.
- Rockumentary: Man in the Sand is about Wilco's collaboration with Billy Bragg on the Mermaid Avenue project, while I Am Trying to Break Your Heart chronicles the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and the tensions that led to Jay Bennett's departure from the band.
- Self-Titled Album: Wilco (The Album), which contains the song "Wilco (The Song)".
- Sesame Street Cred: They contributed "Just a Kid" to the soundtrack of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- Shout-Out: Being There, to the film of the same name.
- And the song "Heavy Metal Drummer", which name-drops the band KISS.
- Welcome to the Big City: "Capitol City" describes the strain that one person's move to the big city puts on a relationship, due to the other person not being likely to enjoy life there.
- Word Salad Lyrics: According to Tweedy himself, the lyrics to "Born Alone" were inspired by picking out random words from a book of 19th-century American poetry.