Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is the fourth studio album by American rock band Wilco, first released on September 18, 2001. Recording sessions for the album began in late 2000. These sessions, which were documented for the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, were marred by conflicts including a switch in drummers and disagreements among the band members and engineers about songs. Despite this, the album would be completed in early 2001. The album showcased a more atmospheric and experimental sound than the band's previous work, and has been described as art rock and indie rock by music critics. It was the band's first album with drummer Glenn Kotche, and last with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jay Bennett. Reprise Records, Wilco's record label at the time, refused to release the album as they felt unhappy about the end result; this would lead to Wilco's departure from Reprise. The band subsequently acquired the rights to the album and later streamed the entire album for free on their website on September 18, 2001. In November of that year, Wilco signed with Nonesuch Records, who gave the album its first official retail release on April 23, 2002. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot received widespread acclaim from music critics at release, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 2000s. It is also Wilco's best-selling work, having reached number 13 on the Billboard 200 chart.Wikipedia
There are, in my estimation, only a couple of sins in music that are entirely unforgivable, and chief amongst them is to be boring. And that's my problem with this, an album that seems to have garnered plaudits and critical acclaim off the back of very little. For all the sonic bells and whistles, this is such a monotone-sounding collection; unvarying in tempo, tone or ambition. The melodies are boring; Jeff Tweedy has a boring voice; the bing-bong-whizz sound effects (or should that be affects?) are boring. I hate this album with a rare passion.
Pretty boring album, there's some decent songs in the middle but it starts off with nothing and ends with nothing, I was not impressed with most of the songs on this album
Cohesive as an album and has some interesting sounds, but those elements never quite combine. It's weird to say, since that should undermine the overall cohesion. Perhaps that means I'm not quite getting it. But the effect is that listening to the LP puts me halfway between "This is almost very good." and "This is nice background noise."
Oh my... what a breath of fresh air! I've heard of Wilco but never taken the time to hear them out. This is the perfect bridge between Guster and Bright Eyes. They are sensitive with substance, but never whiny. Now that would be good enough to get my attention, but they make great use of distortion, sounds, and beats to really add some depth. The autoplay for youtube after this album suggests a day in the life by the beatles and I would agree that this album shares a lot with that track. My first impression was a 3 star album due to the lofi sound, but it grew to a 4 with the emo substance and then a 4.5 with the progressive instrumentals. A phenomenal record!
How the fuck are there two Wilco albums in this list? It's alright, but hardly noteworthy. Christ, what if there's more? Fun fact: Wilco sleeps upside down.
I couldn't wait for this album to end.
I'm glad I listened to this album through my good headphones. The instrumentation is more interesting than I've given it credit for in the past. Dad loved Wilco, and I'm glad I can finally connect with it too. I'll listen to this album again.
It was on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot that Jeff Tweedy's obsession with deconstruction and the studio reached its apotheosis. Tweedy always wrote simple songs, often based on Americana, which gave him the freedom to screw around with attenuating the structures, adding dissonant elements and noise, and subtracting or layering elements, all in the service of asking the question, "What makes a song work?" and laying bare the artifice of the studio. Fortunately for us listeners, Tweedy's obsessions aren't simply academic--his layering is often gorgeous and never more than on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Nowadays, it's common for bands to have heavily ambient elements and noise jostling for attention alongside more conventional song structures. I would bet that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot has a lot to do with that. Also Eno, industrial music from the 80s, and a bunch of other influences, but I digress. The songs on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot work both as deconstruction and as catchy tunes. You don't have to be a music geek to enjoy Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but it definitely deepens the experience.
This album is LOVELY. Just out there enough that you can see a few wee aliens. But warm enough it’s like a big hug that smells like weed. Class.
This is an easy one. This is one of my absolute favorite albums of all time, maybe even top 5. Every single song is good, and several of them are great. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart is the perfect first song for this album, and it just keeps going from there. The album is sad and sweet, but also revels in some happy moments, like War on War and Heavy Metal Drummer. I'd also recommend the documentary about the making of this album if you can find it (titled: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart) 5/5
I've listened to a little Wilco here and there over the years, but not this album. Gotta say, I really like it - love it when indie rock dabbles with ambient. This sounds like an album Pavement would put out a couple of months after developing a penchant for cat tranquillizers. Fave track - "Radio Cure" for that melancholy, "Poor Places" for those number station samples....
I bought three of Wilco's albums before this one. While I never bought Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I was given as a present the documentary on making this album. There was a lot of drama around this album with the drummer leaving just before the recording and guitarist / co-songwriter Jay Bennett leaving just after. To top it off, Reprise (their label) refused to release the record. Wilco paid Reprise peanuts to buy out their rights to the record and then signed with the label Nonesuch who paid Wilco much more than Wilco paid Reprise. fyi, Warner Brothers owns both Reprise and Nonesuch. GONG! On the first song the drums are more conspicuous than on any other Wilco song; the drummer clearly wanted to let everyone know there was a new sheriff in town. lol The album has a smattering of upbeat songs and many of the typically very quiet introverted ballads that populate Wilco’s albums. The experimental music in the last 30 sec. of Poor Places and all of Reservations doesn't work for me. It was worth a try I guess; I understand musicians wanting to try new things but this didn't work for Wilco and should have been left on the cutting room floor. The experimental accents on I'm Trying to Break Your Heart are quite good. The differentiator between this song and Reservations is that the experimentation is an accent rather than the main course. Jeff's pensive voice on ballads is an acquired taste. On “Being There", Wilco’s second album, the songs with strong rhythms were so good you were motivated to play the whole album and invest the time to get to know (and get to like) the ballads. There are good songs with strong rhythms on this album, including Kamera, Heavy Metal Drummer and I'm Trying to Break Your Heart. War on War is also good. I can imagine that previous iterations of this song sounded like a nice Jeff Tweedy ballad that all but devoted Wilco fans would hate but it was then engineered to produce a catchy and experimental beats oriented tune. While the songs with strong rhythms are good, they're not on par with Wilco's best.
A little over a month ago I gave a mixed review of Wilco's Being There but said I was looking forward to the "indieheads essential" YHF. Well here we are. And color me impressed, every track stands out... no filler. Simple melodies, some catchy, some super experimental, with an aesthetically pleasing folky voice that reminds me of Sufjan Stevens. By far, the star of the album is the creative songwriting, covering themes of angst and existential dread. I really love the lyrics. My favorite is on "Ashes of America." Lyrics are full of literary devices that evoke imagery that speaks of the narrator's twisted and often flawed mindset. Vocals perfectly reflect the melancholic tone. Experimental techniques often reinforce the confusion and anxiety. However, this is also a double-edged sword, it gets a little too obscure. Especially in that first song. It took me a few listens to come up with some attempt of what they're talking about, and then to read interpretations online. "Oh so he's a drunk driver who improves his alcoholism from the size of an aquarium to a dixie cup." This can be a distracting (or engaging) experience for new listeners, making it slightly inaccessible since the songwriting is the main shine. The other fault that prevents this album from being perfect is the cohesion of the album. The songs stand really well on their own, and could be improved by some track reshuffling. But as is, the moods expressed in one song get totally disrupted by the next. "War on War" ends chaoticly, then immediately goes to a melodic and soothing "Jesus etc," then the deep introspective and political "Ashes of American Flags," then to the catchy pop "Heavy Metal Drummer." I'm not sure what to feel because it doesn't give me time to breath and prepare for different emotions. The intro "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" and closing "Reservations" perform their roles well respectively, but the rest either needs to be reshuffled or placed on different albums.
Absolute classic album. Top 200 for me. Essential listening.
Transcendent. This album was originally scheduled to release on 9/11, yet it somehow captures the post-9/11 ethos perfectly. It's also fresh today. Complex in all the right ways, without sacrificing listenability or accessibility. It's cliche for hipsters to fawn over this album, but in this case, they're right. Best track: I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
I fucking love this band! I've been listening to Wilco for a long time now, and this is their best album. period. from lyrics, to the instrumentals and just the feel of the album, it's one of my favorites.
One of the great recods of our time.
Listened to this album on repeat for a year when it came out. LOVE LOVE LOVE. so sad that this incarnation of wilco didn't stick around for longer.
Some great songs and some meh. Would be 3.5 if I could.
Fourth Wilco album. They made a documentary about the making of. Their drummer was fired at the beginning of the sessions, and a guitarist was fired after the album was made. A good listen.
The most successful Wilco's album. Great calm and melancholic mix of art-rock / indie rock. Recording sessions were documented for the film "I Am Tryind To Break Your Heart". Reprise Record refused to release the album because they felt unhappy about the end result so the band streamed the album for free on their website in 2001. Later in 2002 the album was oficially released by Nonesuch Records and critics acclaimed the album as one of the grratest albums of the 2000s.
I first heard this album when it was new. I already had a respect for Wilco, but wasn't that familiar with their music. When Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released, the reception felt like this was the next Radiohead. I listened to it once or twice, but I just didn't understand what anyone loved about this album (just like my reaction to OK Computer). I didn't get it and Wilco was off my radar forever. When this album came up as my next listen, my first reaction was "Oh really?!? We're doing this again?" However, I did actually enjoy the listen this time. Nothing that knocks my socks off. Just a good solid album that almost piques my interest. The whole album just got me in the mood for Golden Smog, what I would consider a better version of Wilco. I was most engaged in the middle of the album (from Jesus Etc. to I'm The Man Who Loves You). At one point, near the end of Ashes of American Flags (I was doing yard work at the time), the lyric "All off the falling leaves filling up shopping bags" played while I was actually emptying my mower bag into the larger bin. Eerie, but appreciated. This album was definitely worth the second listen before I die. I may hear it again, I might not. It was a good experience though and I give thanks for the suggestion even though I was sceptical out of the gate. Edit: I realized the impression this album gives me... Pavement light.
It was okay. Generally inoffensive, but not that exciting. Not sure I really needed to hear it before I die. Feels like it might be a grower... Seems I was right about it being a grower. Enjoying it more on second listen. Some really nice guitar sounds. Vocals reminiscent of Mark Everett. Don't think it will ever be a favourite album, but I like it enough to revisit again.
A little weird, not very melodic, not too much fun
I think if I didn't read your reviews before listening I wouldn't have spent the whole thing thinking: 'There's no way this is a five star album' then maybe I would have enjoyed it a lot more. It was great in parts but also just not that good boys, I'm sorry, I'm bringing it down
Solid. Pleasant alt-country. 7/10
Meh, not for me. Some parts were interesting.
Two or Three good Songs but as a whole quite Boring. Too centered around lead Singer/lyriks. Lacks the melodic elements and dynamics to excite.
YHF? You have failed?
This album was just very very uneventful and boring
The album is just so lifeless and uninspiring and never picks up. Greatly lacks rhythm and anything truly memorable. But not bad enough to not have in the background at the very least.
Suffers from 'Macbeth is Boring' syndrome.
The first listen went by a little unnoticed. So I played it again. There were parts that got my attention but nothing that really grabbed me by the balls.
not very interesting or energetic
I wanted to like this more. This seems to be in my musical wheelhouse, but it came to me an competent but generally uninteresting. It began to blur together.
I don't really know what to take from this album. Is it iconic because this sound was the first in a wave of bands cutting albums like this later? This album has interesting stuff in terms of sonic textures but I don't see the cohesive whole where I care about it? I don't give a shit about this album.
NO! Just fucking no! Every algorithm in existence suggests that my indie-pop, singer-songwriter soul should love Wilco, and worship this goddamn album. I've tried. I really have. Took a long hiatus from it. Trying again in good faith via this site. Just a whiney, whiney nasely warble dragging my ears across a very lame, non-energetic blob of dull. Fucking no. Wilco annoys me.
Genuinely impressed by how boring it is.
A longtime favorite, captures a piece of America that I wish we could go back to
Excellent album - groundbreaking.
Amazing alt country album
Arguably, the best album ever made.
Yet another album that I've never heard from prior to listening... but this one is different from most of the other 'hidden' albums that I've never heard of. It's so good, wow. My favourite songs are I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Kamera and Jesus etc, but I enjoyed all of them. 5/5 stars.
Holds up spectacularly well on a first listen in years after touting it to one and all upon its release. Restive and off-kilter but always compelling. There’s a conventional song somewhere inside “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart;” thankfully the band and the producer stuck to their guns to give us this one.
Always a favorite.
A successful combination of great songwriting, unusual production and a captivating sound.
Wilco has several great albums. Sometimes I tell myself my favorite is something different than this one, but this is just a straight up masterpiece in every sense of the word.
This is probably one of my favorites
4.5/5. Nice early 2000s low-key, richly textured indie classic. Good stuff
yeah it’s easy to hear the inspiration in modern rock & indie music from this one. pot kettle black 🔥
One of my favourite albums
A rare album in this list that I've listened to a few times, and held off on rating for quite a while. I was familiar with this album prior, but never listened to it (aside from one attempt where I stopped after "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"). Feels very... fall-into-winter. Each song is varied, with a wide array of instruments, and some noise elements thrown in between. Great segues into each song... I fought myself, but I feel like this is a record that I'll revisit every once in a while, maybe sit down and have a drink with. I'm glad I gave it some time. Some surface listens didn't do it justice. Favorite tracks: "Radio Cure", "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart", "War on War", "Jesus, Etc.", "Pot Kettle Black"
A foundational text of indie rock
Love this. Peak Wilco
A classic. Every song on this album is an absolute banger.
10/10 awesome art rock, really good shit I gotta listen to their other stuff now
Interesting! I will listen to it another time.
Yankee Hotel Fivestar
Amazing album. Truly a chronicle of destruction and creation of the new Wilco that came after the work and influence of Jay Bennet.
Sadboy indie rock classic. Simple but with a lot of flavors. A familiar sound that is also cutting edge. Relatable lyrics. “I am trying to break your heart” and “Jesus Etc.” are staples of the genre.
Never really listened to Wilco and I have been missing out!
Phenomenally laidback and gloomy, I love the cohesiveness and expressiveness on display in this.
Thoughtfully crafted and excellently written, it sits somewhere between Weezer and Radiohead in sound. I really liked this, I thought this was superb.
Le meilleur album de la liste à n'en pas douter. 10/10.
One of my all time favorite albums. This one opened up a world to me.
C'est weird dans le bon sens. J'aime ce style, c'est plein de genre mélangé. Certaines chansons sont très pop et s'écoute super bien. D'autres chansons avec Guitares saturés plus rock. Un beau mélange et une belle forme pour une super album. Je met un 5 pour pouvoir y retrouner mais l'album est un 4.85 pour moi
Headphones, so good! Super melancholy.
This rules. Love this.
An all-time favorite
I unabashedly love this album. I read that it was reviewed as “an Americana Kid A” and I can only sagely nod in tacit agreement. Nothing further needs be said.
slow-ish start but the rest is peak, 4.5/5
The "Pet Sounds" of Indie Rock. Or maybe it's Indie Rock's "Dark Side Of The Moon" depending on one's theory as to how it syncs up with 9/11. Wilco became somewhat unfairly labeled as "Dad Rock" on subsequent albums (they released at least 3 more great albums after this one). That's probably because their music became more accessible than complex Jeff Tweedy said the goal here was to make something he'd never heard before, instead of sounding like a "really good rock band". Fortunately, the end result is both. Wilco found the perfect marriage of complex and accessible. And we're rewarded by listening to a fantastic rock band exhaust themselves to create their masterpiece.
I still listen to it regularly
Well well well. This is what all the fuss is about I guess! Another band whose name pops up in places, but you never ever here any music from them anywhere. But i loved this. I guess alt-country made a few reaches for the populace a couple big times in the 2000's before finally breaking through in recent years. This is just a nice sound, like a very American Belle and Sebastian, one of my favorite bands. And of course, its nice and gloomy, which is important, because when I am working, I am very gloomy, and it helps to have a soundtrack to my heaviness, as I trudge forward with copying and pasting, shifting windows, answering IM's, trying to remember what I was doing before Sally IM'd me about where she put her file, and then waiting for a slow website to load while I stare at the screen in 5 to 8 seconds of limbo - enough time to recognize my intractable state but not enough time to dislodge myself. Wilco knows this, and Wilco reassures me that its OK, it is the way it is for them too, perhaps for so many of us who plug ourselves into the feeding tube of our masters in hopes that we will win a few hours of joy after our minds bodies are sufficiently drained. Thanks for understand, Wilco.
Nice early 21st century alt rock that I enjoyed then and enjoy now. There is a lot of interesting arranging and instrumentation that sets this above some of the more generic albums of this era. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot holds up for me. I like hearing it again.
Trying to break my heart? That's not that hard to do. And it's extra tender today so maybe this doesn't mean much but break my heart it did. (And I wasn't even really paying much attention to the lyrics.) Melancholy vocals over sad piano on a gray and gloomy day felt just perfect.
PREFS: TOUT MOINS PREF: RIEN
When it comes to music discussion circles on the internet, this is the Wilco album I see getting praised the most. I had already developed an appreciation for Jeff Tweedy's songwriting on their sophomore album Being There, so expectations are already high. Already notable is the band's shift away from their alt-country sound into a more artsy-leaning indie rock. The opening track, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, is intricately mixed and performed. While it comes across as disjointed and messy on the surface, the production of the song exhibits a certain purposefulness in how each instrument supports one another through the sound. Despite it sounding mostly unlike the other songs on the album, this sort of studio work combined with Tweedy's songwriting will set expectations for the rest of the runtime. It's unmatched. Little things are what makes Yankee Hotel Foxtrot so special. The soft drumming keeping time on Radio Cure, the tinny piano on Ashes of American Flags, the unidentifiable bass-sounding instrument about 3 minutes into Poor Places followed by the numbers radio broadcast repeating "Yankee. Hotel. Foxtrot. Yankee. Hotel. Foxtrot. Yankee. Hotel...." I cannot stress how good the production is on this album. This is Pet Sounds for the 21st century. Credit goes to Jim O'Rourke for his ability to bring Tweedy's songs and Wilco's performances to perfection. I should also credit Jay Bennett who is a songwriter for Wilco alongside Tweedy. Bennett would pass away in 2009 at the age of 45, so I feel this album is a fitting way to remember his legacy. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is an achievement for western popular music, proving that attention to detail does not go unnoticed. It is a beautiful body of work that transcends genre. It speaks for itself. It's perfect.
By any measure a great collection of songs, brilliantly produced and delivered, haunting and atmospheric, smart and engaging. Talent everywhere, repeat listening rewarded.
Very enjoyable album with lots of great tracks. Especially like Jesus, Etc., Ashes of American Flags, Heavy Metal Drummer, and Reservations.
This is one of those landmark albums that is absolutely not to be missed. Wilco creates a vast sonic landscape as they transition fully out of alt country into art rock. The results are expansive and stunning. They influences incorporated into the sound are diverse spanning from Television, John Cale, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys just to name a few. This album should be listened to in its entirety and ideally more than once.
One of my favourite albums Cover art. 5/5. Chicago brutalist architecture
beautiful sounds on this one, and such a nice little batch of songs
This is my favourite Wilco album slightly bettering in my opinion Summerteeth. Jeff Tweedy has an incredible ear for melody and for hook writing. YHF from beginning to end is filled with beautifully constructed pop music which are punctuated with flourishes of electronic noises, fantastic horn charts and just sublime music making of the highest quality. The middle part of the album - sides 2 and 3 of my double vinyl LP is nearly perfect, reaching its peak on the infectious nostalgia of Heavy Metal Drummer, but all 6 songs that make up the heart of this album are timeless. The songs that make up sides 1 and 4 are more deliberate and somewhat experimental in their use of the studio as musical instrument, but their more languid pace does not diminsh the album in any way, in fact they add to the albums power. 5 stars
Ovo će sad bit treća petica zaredom. Al ovo je mislim čak meni najbolja petica od ta tri albuma.
Always a joy and always a bit sad. My favorite listen was when Wilco played it front to back as an encore at Solid Sound in 2017.