Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Wilco released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot


Released: September 18, 2001

Charted: May 4, 2002

Peak: 13 US, 40 UK, 43 AU

Sales (in millions): 0.67 US

Genre: alternative country rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
  2. Kamera
  3. Radio Cure
  4. War on War (5/21/02, --)
  5. Jesus, Etc.
  6. Ashes of American Flags
  7. Heavy Metal Drummer
  8. I’m the Man Who Loves You
  9. Pot Kettle Black
  10. Poor Places
  11. Reservations

Total Running Time: 51:51

The Players:

  • Jeff Tweedy (vocals, guitar)
  • John Stirratt (bass)
  • Leroy Bach (keyboards, guitar, bass, saxophone)
  • Glenn Kotche (drums)
  • Jay Bennett (mixing, multiple instruments)


4.047 out of 5.00 (average of 28 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Few bands can call themselves contemporaries of both the heartbreakingly earnest self-destruction of Whiskeytown and the alienating experimentation of Radiohead’s post-millennial releases, but on the painstaking Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco seem to have done just that. In early 2001, the Chicago-area band focused on recording their fourth album, which ultimately led to the departure of guitarist Jay Bennett and tensions with their record label.” AMG Wilco wouldn’t change the album and Reprise Records dropped them. Welco bought the studio tapes for $50,000, left the label, AMG and posted the album for free on the internet. RS’20 “Two-hundred-thousand downloads later, Nonesuch Records (owned by the same company as Reprise) released the album, and it became critical and commercial gold.” RS’20

“The turmoil surrounding the recording and distribution of the album in no way diminishes the sheer quality of the genre-spanning pop songs written by frontman Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates. After throwing off the limiting shackles of the alt-country tag that they had been saddled with through their 1996 double album Being There, Wilco experimented heavily with the elaborate constructs surrounding their simple melodies on Summerteeth. The long-anticipated Yankee Hotel Foxtrot continues their genre-jumping and worthwhile experimentation.” AMG “Its pretty acoustic-guitar melodies battled noise, skidded into dissonance, or got chopped off abruptly. Its lyrics pitted hope against doubt, with all bets off.” RS’20

“The sprawling, nonsensical I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is as charmingly bleak as anything Tweedy has written to date, while the positively joyous Heavy Metal Drummer jangles through bright choruses and summery reminiscences. Similarly, Kamera dispels the opening track’s gray with a warm acoustic guitar and mixer/multi-instrumentalist/ ‘fifth Beatle’ Jim O’Rourke’s unusual production.” AMG

“The true high points of the album are when the songwriting is at its most introspective, as it is during the heartwrenching Ashes of American Flags, which takes on an eerie poignancy in the wake of the attacks at the World Trade Center. ‘All my lies are always wishes,’ Tweedy sings, ‘I know I would die if I could come back new.’” AMG

“As is the case with many great artists, the evolution of the band can push the music into places that many listeners (and record companies for that matter) may not be comfortable with, but, in the case of Wilco, their growth has steadily led them into more progressive territory. While their songs still maintain the loose intimacy that was apparent on their debut A.M., the music has matured to reveal a complexity that is rare in pop music, yet showcased perfectly on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” AMG

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First posted 3/29/2008; last updated 4/23/2022.

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