The Greatest Albums of the 2000s

#4.  Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002): Indeed what a long strange trip it had been by the time this wonderful album was released by Chicago-based outfit Wilco.  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a bold step along the path of mythology of Wilco.  As alt-country darlings, Wilco had released a series of critically acclaimed albums prior to the recording of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Ironically enough, their former label Reprise rejected it.  For obvious reasons, the band was intent on releasing this body of work so they bought the rights to it and released it on their website; later that year, Nonesuch records signed them and released the album.  I think you know what happened next……If you don’t, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was both a critical and commercial success; and for good reason.  As to be expected, Wilco’s blend of roots-based rock, characterized by wonderful songwriting was as present here as any of its predecessors.  What could not be foreseen was the brilliant twist of gadgetry and electronic instrumentation that gave the album a sort of alternate universe sound.  But it doesn’t stop there.  On “Jesus, etc.” Wilco gives us a little 70s style rock, sounding like the Eagles playing Wilco.  On “I’m the Man who Loves You” it looks like the band’s doing their best impersonation of the Breeders but the song quickly turns into what is one of the best feel-good love songs I’ve ever heard.  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot somehow manages to be one of the most accessible albums you could ever listen to.  At the same time, it’s a magical fusion of  imagination and great song craft.

Faves: Jesus, etc., Kamera, I am the Man who Loves You, Pot Kettle Black

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