Of making love
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the fourth studio album by American indie rock group Wilco, released in 2001 after one of the most notorious productions in music history.
Under the working title of Here Comes Everybody, it originally consisted of a six-track demo, before conflict began to arise over Ken Coomer's drumming. Proposed by singer Jeff Tweedy and unanimously agreed upon almost straight away by the rest of the band, Coomer was replaced by Glenn Kotche, whom Tweedy had performed with a year prior. Tweedy brought Jim O'Rourke to mix the album; he won over the rest of the band with his mixing of the album's opening track, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart". The album's title came from the Irdial box set The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations, specifically the fourth track Phonetic Alphabet - Nato. The woman repeating the words "yankee hotel foxtrot" was sampled and included in the track "Poor Places", prompting a lawsuit from Irdial. Constant arguments between Tweedy and Bennett prompted Tweedy to kick Bennett out after the album's completion. By early 2001, after a very stressful process, the album was finished and ready to be released.
The AOL-Time Warner merger resulted in the new executives terminating 600 jobs. As noted above, Reprise president Howie Klein was among the ones who were fired. His replacement was David Kahne, who dismissed the band due to lack of commercial success. Wilco's lawyer negotiated a buyout for the album: while the initial pricing was $50,000 for the rights to the album, Reprise later dropped the price altogether. After the buyout, further problems arose with the album's original release date: September 11, 2001. Some of the lyrics featured in the album (such as the one under the page image) proved tasteless in the events of the attacks. Tweedy streamed the whole album on their website for free a week later, and Wilco was approached by Nonesuch Records to distribute the album for $50,000 - the band struggled to get the money necessary.note The album was finally released on April 23, 2002.
Despite seemingly everything working against it, Tweedy's decision to stream the album ended up being a major benefactor - critical acclaim and positive word-of-mouth resulted in their resulting tour generate a huge outcome. Reviewers couldn't stop giving the album perfect scores, and the album ended up being certified gold. Dubbed "the Apocalypse Now of music", Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has since gone on as one of music's biggest success stories, and one of the greatest of the 2000s.
- "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" (6:57)
- "Kamera" (3:29)
- "Radio Cure" (5:08)
- "War on War" (3:47)
- "Jesus, Etc." (3:50)
- "Ashes of American Flags" (4:43)
- "Heavy Metal Drummer" (3:08)
- "I'm the Man Who Loves You" (3:55)
- "Pot Kettle Black" (4:00)
- "Poor Places" (5:15)
- "Reservations" (7:22)
- Jeff Tweedy - vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, programming, harmonica
- Jay Bennett programming, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, keyboards, synthesizers, organ, bass, drums, percussion, lap steel, glockenspiel, vibraphone, bells, vocals
- John Stirratt bass, vocals
- Leroy Bach - piano, acoustic and electric guitar, organ, glockenspiel, vibraphone, bass, percussion, horns
- Glenn Kotche - drums, percussion, cimbalom, siren, chimes
Picking apples for the kings and queens of tropes I've never seen:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "War on War", "Poor Places".
- Album Title Drop: "Poor Places".
- Call-Forward: "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" references "I'm the Man Who Loves You" in its end of song meltdown.
- Digital Piracy Is Okay: This attitude benefited the band in a great way.
- Epic Rocking: "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" and "Reservations"
- Fading into the Next Song: "Ashes of American Flags" has a distorted, warped snippet of the piano from "Heavy Metal Drummer" at the song's end.
- Last Note Nightmare:
- "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" goes completely off the rails.
- "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.
- "Poor Places" actually includes an Album Title Drop in the middle of its concluding noise freakout.
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice
- Rockumentary: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, about the album's recording.
- Sampling: "Poor Places" samples a radio broadcast from a Numbers Station.
- Shout-Out: "Heavy Metal Drummer" name drops KISS.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Tweedy's lyricism is one of the things that sticks out about this album; the opening line to "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" has become somewhat memetic amongst Wilco fans:I am an American aquarium drinker