Review #225: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco

Karla Clifton
2 min readJan 14, 2022

#225: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco

Believe it or not, I actually downloaded this and burned it to a CD in high school. That may make me sound very cool if you know anything about this album (their label wouldn’t release it, so they released it themselves, and it blew up) but the truth is that I did it because of a different Rolling Stone list: the 100 Best Albums of the 2000s, released in 2011. I don’t know remember exactly why I chose this; I knew nothing about Wilco.

Although it was released one week after the Twin Tower attacks, it was all recorded before the actual event. That’s despite the fortuitous album cover and the creepy song “Ashes of American Flags.”

I didn’t actually listen to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot a lot. I remember loving “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “Kamera,” which are both mesmerizing and have really sweet lyrics.

But I didn’t actually make it past those first two songs very often. So when I listened to YHF this week, I was pleased to learn that it has more than one upbeat songs. “Heavy Metal Drummer” is addictive, and “I’m The Man Who Loves You” has truly epic horn & guitar parts. “Jesus, Etc.” features some excellent country-style strings. (By the way, Wilco formed from the wreckage of a country band called Uncle Tupelo. They sound more like an indie band mixed with a little Radiohead.)

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and I guess I didn’t. But there’s still something magical about the opening track. Take off your band-aid, ’cause I don’t believe in touchdowns/What was I thinking when we said hello?

Other Highlights: “Radio Cure” sounds like the soundtrack to a bleak camping trip. The chimes in “War On War.” “Pot Kettle Black” features the excellent line Every moment’s a little bit later. “Poor Places” ends up in a Sonic Youth sort of place.

Honorable Mentions: “Reservations” has some out-of-key harmonies that were especially painful to listen to after discovering the Dixie Chicks.


Review #224: Fly, Dixie Chicks

Review #226: Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek & The Dominos