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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My oh my, they've done it again
Having initially read some rather dismissive reviews, I bought this with mixed feelings. On the one hand I have great faith in Jeff Tweedy's way with a tune, but on the other hand I suspected that he was becoming somewhat uneasy with the critical acclaim accorded to the previous records, and wouldn't think twice about "doing a Kid A", thereby alienating half his fanbase...
Published on 6 Jan 2003 by Mr. C. D. A. Price

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A patchy album, superbly played with a few decent songs and very well produced.
Over twenty listens later and no sign of " a classic album " in sight.
Having read so many strong reviews for this album , I was expecting a lot and while there are some very fine moments superbly performed, this album simply does not in any shape or form have the song craft, depth or contrast which is associated with classic albums. Of this particular...
Published 27 days ago by A. R. McTaggart


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My oh my, they've done it again, 6 Jan 2003
By 
Mr. C. D. A. Price "chris-rad-price" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
Having initially read some rather dismissive reviews, I bought this with mixed feelings. On the one hand I have great faith in Jeff Tweedy's way with a tune, but on the other hand I suspected that he was becoming somewhat uneasy with the critical acclaim accorded to the previous records, and wouldn't think twice about "doing a Kid A", thereby alienating half his fanbase. I shouldn't have worried. Although certainly odd on first listening, the wicked skewed pop songs are still clearly in evidence: Heavy Metal Drummer, and the tremendous Jesus,etc never fail to bring a smile to my face and War on War is just a fine pop ditty.
However, it's certainly on the more measured, downbeat songs that they come up trumps time and again. The opening bars of Ashes of American Flags send a shiver down one's spine, the song achingly melancholic until descending into a cacophony of feedback and white noise. And if that's not enough, the final two tracks Poor Places and Reservations are equally impressive, the latter possessing possibly the most gorgeous Tweedy melody yet.
I must admit that after Summerteeth, I thought the only way was down for Wilco, particularly given all the trouble with record labels and line-up changes. They have of course quite categorically proven me wrong; the CD not having left my stereo for the past three months bearing witness to the fact that this is one truly exceptional album. How nice it is to be wrong sometimes.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hear Wilco roar, 22 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
Wilco are now some distance from the alt.country tag they seem to hate. Summerteeth let them flex their musical muscles, but YHF is even better. 'I Am trying To Break Your Heart' is a near-perfect opener in the vein of 'Misunderstood' or 'Sunken treasure'. Their 'pop' is a off-kilter version of Beatles Revolver and is perfect on 'Kamera', 'Pot Kettle Black' and 'War On War'.
As one reviewer pointed out, it is the other sprawling, punctuated with static, tracks that are worth even more repeated listens. '...Break Your Heart', 'Poor Places' and 'Ashes of American Flags' are heartfelt, interesting and always hold something back so you discover it on the next listen.
The musical performances are, as always, excellent, although it will be interesting to see how they cope now that the multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett has left. Jeff tweedy's vocals are close to crumbling on occasion, adding weight to lines like 'I shake like a tootache when I hear myself sing'. However, go see Wilco live and Tweedy's voice is as strong and vibrant as you hoped it could be. The album is terrific, but go see them live and you'll love the album that bit more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yankee doodle dandy, 2 Jun 2004
By 
Cowpunk (Paisley, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
Well what can i say about this album that has not already been said, hmmm!
You must buy this album now, now. I could waffle on for 1000 words about the experimental sound, beautiful melodies and astounding craftsmanship/songsmithery, particularly on songs like, well all of them, but I will not insult your intelligence.

If you are reading these reviews then you are already most of the way towards buying it, I am merely here to insist that you do, my only problem with you is that you don't already have it. Get it, you will find that this decision will change your life for the better, everyone will enjoy this gem, even my mum and she likes bad bad music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tweedy's Uncompromising Sonic Beauty, 17 July 2004
By 
Juan Mobili (Valley Cottage, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
Since so many people have reviewed this album already, I have no illusions about saying something for the first time nor plan on repeating what has already expressed fully and well.
I do still -specially for those people reading this after listening to YFH's follow-up the also impressive "A Ghost Is Born- need to point to a couple of important things that this album show about Wilco's consistently surprising output.
This album clearly demonstrates that Jeff Tweedy's musical vision and commitment to shed songwriting skins is remarkable and an inspiration, specially in the current midst of so many Rock and Pop icons continuing to repeat themselves, who at best flavor their "butter" differently but go on churning the same formula, forgetting to take the kind of risks that made them important in the first place.
Now, unlike many people have mourned earlier, I don't think this album is an absolute departure from what Wilco has been hailed for before. Although this is not "Summerteeth" or "Being There," Tweedy's love for Pop has not been renounced, "Kamera," "Heavy Metal Drummer" and "Pot Kettle Black" proved that.
More than abandoning former song-glories, Tweedy has evolved, has taken all that he can do and pushed it further into a new atmosphere. Where Jay Bennet was so instrumental in what the albums that preceded this one sounded like, Jim O'Rourke is now Tweedy's full musical partner.
And O'Rourke is no Yoko breaking a great band -actually Yoko did not either!- but rather someone who helped Tweedy say well what he was already prepared to say. His production deepens and thrusts these songs to a higher level. " Ashes of American Flags," "I am Trying to Break Your Heart" and "Radio Cure" are magnificent examples of a composer and a producer making music together that reaches farther that either one would have managed on his own.
This is a great album, not the end of a certain Wilco but the evolution of a sound into brave, new and exciting new possibilities.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new sound for one of America's great bands, 10 April 2002
By 
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
During the period following Wilco's last studio release, the excellent "Summerteeth", the band fell into dispute with their record company over the more progressive nature of this album. The result was a fractious period when it looked at times as if the album would never see the light of day, destined to reside in the dusty vaults of a major label. With a new record deal, Wilco have been able to release their most experimental work to date.
The chronology, and Wilco's development as a band, runs as follows. Release a homage to the great history of American popular country-rock music ("Being There"), and follow it up with an album that seamlessly incorporated their influences into a magical mystery tour of musical genres, halfway between "indie" rock, country and electronica without actually hitting any of these styles full on. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot builds on Summerteeth's experimentation and pushes this new style to the very limits.
Opening track "I am trying to break your heart" summarises the extensions to Wilco's sound - swirling keyboards and snippets of electronic bleeps underpin a dark, sinister love song. In the same way that Big Star's later works sounded as if they could fall apart at any moment, it's difficult to see where this track is going until the conclusion sweeps the listener headfirst into Kamera. This is much more the traditional Wilco sound, but stripped down to include a full sounding acoustic guitar that drives the rhythm along. This pretty much sets the blueprint for the tracks to come, a mixture of great rock songs with unexpected arrangements.
The masterpiece of the album has to be 'Jesus Etc.', with plaintive violins holding the minimal arrangement together while Tweedy delivers possibly his most affecting (and effective) vocal performance yet. It's one of those moments that send shivers down your spine, when everything clicks together at the same point just perfectly. Throughout the album, Jeff Tweedy's voice sounds as heartbroken and forlorn as ever, and the creative musicianship and imagination are every bit as good as you'd expect from a band boasting Tweedy and co-writer Jay Bennett (who has since left to pursue a solo career).
It's wonderful, different, challenging listen. Fans of Being There, that did not buy Summerteeth, may not welcome this change in sound with open arms, but for those of us that have lived with both albums for years, after a few listens, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot reveals itself to be every bit as great as we could have possibly hoped for. Even if Jay Bennett's departure draws an end to this band's golden era, Wilco have been good enough to leave us three of the greatest rock albums of the last twenty years to remember them by.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm The Man Who Loves You!, 19 Jan 2008
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
It took me a long time to come round to Wilco. I had always wrongly thought of them as a square man's Flaming Lips. While there are superficial resemblances between the two bands, Wilco's experimental brand of alt-country is focused on more classic pop concerns. The sonic adventurism of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot lends additional quirkiness to many of the songs while establishing a conceptual whole. The squalls of radio static that ends the likes of 'Ashes of American Flags' add a threatening post-September 11th precariousness to the faux-naivity of many of the tracks. The nostalgic atmosphere of the album suggests more innocent times, as played out in the metaphor of radio-friendly pop carried through the airwaves. But the malevolence of the modern age simmers under the surface as if radio frequencies are accidently crossing, adding a bittersweet dischordance and sometimes threatening to subsume the music altogether. But for all the conceptualism, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is ultimately an album of great experimental pop songs in the tradition of the Beatles.

While Jeff Tweedy's vocals can underwhelm, Wilco compensate with more melodies and ideas than many bands can count on in a career. Many of the songs on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot have the instantly recognizable air that great songs do, even if you haven't heard them before. The melancholy slide guitar on `Ashes Of American Flags', for instance, or the little violin refrain on `Jesus Etc', and the burbling, propulsive electronics on `War On War' - almost every song has a compelling identity and irresistible hookiness. You can easily forgive the riff on `Pot Kettle Black' sounding very similar to The Cure's `In-Between Days'. What seems amazing today is that Wilco had to fight to have this album released, as it was deemed so uncommercial by their record label. Yes, there are moments of wigged-out experimentation - no doubt influenced by studio maverick / multi-instrumentalist Jim O'Rourke - but crucially Tweedy and co. have not forgotten how to write great songs.

If you like this try aforementioned bands (The Beatles, obviously, and The Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin), `Gimme Fiction' by Spoon or `Shepherd Dog' by Iron & Wine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tweedy the prince, o'rouke the king, 5 Aug 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
A lot of people have called this record a grower and very experimental, and while i would largely agree with the latter i i have to say i instanstly loved it. When you hear the word experimental most people will translate it to mean unlistenable but gratefully this is far from the case with wilcos latest and maybe their best to date. Infact by in large it is one of the most infectious POP records i have heard in a long time. However what makes this a exceptunal record rather than a very good one has to be the jim o'rouke involment as producer/mixer. Although jeff tweedy(wilcos front man) is seen as having practiaclly invented alt country and therefore widely regaurded as something of a legend, it is "the one who sometimes plays guitar off sonic youth" who continues his assent towards the title of "genius". His subtle and intricate production is sublime and elivates the record from something that otherwise would have been very lisenable in to something that you really should sit down and listen to.( i hope that makes sense). It was once said( by some guy whos name i don't recall) that the best songs are ones that contain something new each time you hear it. i think that certainly is thae case here.
The big problem now is wheather or not this is better than jim O'roukes solo effort this year(insigificance). Why not buy both?.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A transmission of haunting and lasting beauty., 26 April 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
Having the dubious honour of 'inventing' the non-genre (or, rather, journalistic construct) of alt.country, Jeff Tweedy has produced a consistently affecting, albeit undemanding, body of work. Always in thrall not just to the influence of classic Americana, but also in equal parts the Beatles and the Stones, Wilco songs are faithful purveyors of tradition but also refreshing and likeable. With 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot', Tweedy clearly felt that more could be achieved. Aside from the static radio noise and unusual production, this is easily Wilco's best and most accessible collection of songs. It sounds coherent, reflective, and honest and is characterised by an emotional clarity which pop music only rarely attains. It works because it is challenging and rewarding in equal measure.
The opening 'I am Trying to Break Your Heart' serves as a statement of intent, Tweedy confessing to being an 'American aquarium drinker' and pondering 'what was I thinking when I let go of you?' This, like the other songs here, addresses the common theme of fraught and strained relationships with newfound grace and sincerity. The static and feedback noises that swirl underneath it act as a filter through which the gorgeous melody is presented. The involvement of Jim O' Rourke ( a man seemingly destined for legendary status) at the mixing stage clearly had a profound influence on the shaping of this extraordinary sound. The static is a consistent underto here - right up to the awesome closing track 'Reservations' (where Tweedy is at his confessional best)- and it is highly effective.
Underneath all the faint noise and hum, the music is actually pretty conventional. This is not necessarily a bad thing as Wilco are playing to their strengths with the wistful, folky melodicism of 'Radio Cures' or the classic radio rock of 'Kamera'. Yet, they are also becoming more adventurous in their arrangements. The violin that colours the subtle 'Jesus etc' and the guitar effects that permeate the sublime 'Ashes of American flags' show them piecing together new sounds and ideas. This is traditional pop music both reshaped and refocussed through a modern production ethic.
There is a great theme of distance here - whether in literal or metaphorical terms, between the two protagonists of a relationship.'Distance has a way of making love understandable', sings Tweedy, regrettably, and the whole album has this sense of contemplation and rumination on love. This is not entirely without humour - as 'Heavy Metal Drummer' and 'Pot Kettle Black', both more upbeat tracks, have a gleeful irony that acts as a convenient and necessary respite. The lasting impression, however, is of the whole album sounding like a broadcast over radio waves, communication becoming a real struggle.
Yet, this album resonates and communicates loud and clear. It's a subtle, yet deeply insistent collection, performed with understated charm and dignity. Lyrically, it's a quantum leap forward. Eschewing convoluted metaphor and allusion, this is a direct and powerful testament delivered in the simple language that the uniformly excellent songs require. On 'Poor places' and 'Reservations' particularly, the anxiety is palpable. Both beautiful and enticing, this is a million miles from the commercial suicide of, say, Terence Trent D'Arby's 'Neither Fish nor Flesh' or Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music'. It is a resoundingly unpretentious work, free from self indulgence and full of warmth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wilco shall rule the world, 18 Aug 2002
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
I only discovered Wilco a few months ago but have fallen in love with them so quickly. I heard Yankee Hotel Foxtrot first and then rushed out and bought Summerteeth only to discover that it was equally good, if not better. I can't believe they're not bigger than they are. Buy one of their albums, there is something missing in your life if you don't...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stone Cold Classic, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (Audio CD)
This is an album that is really beginning to make a name for itself on all these `greatest ever album' list - and rightfully so.

From beginning to end there is not a weak track, enough `poppy' sounds to draw you in on first listen and enough depth & experimentation to keep you interested 5 years down the line.

If you have never heard Wilco this is the perfect starting place and, certainly, their best album (so far). The sound is somewhat alt-country but with a very un-easy sheen of electronica bringing static, distant voices and various bleeps & other noises bleeding in from the background.

Overall if you are at all interested in `popular' music you really will want to give this album a few spins.
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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco (Audio CD - 2002)
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