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What is the appeal of Wilco?

Old 05-05-03, 06:28 PM
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What is the appeal of Wilco?

I honestly cannot understand the appeal of Wilco. After hearing the amount of praise that Yankee Foxtrot Hotel has received, I tried listening to it in a store, but could not make it past the first track. After I heard "I'm an American aquarium drinker..." sung in what sounded (to me) off key. I am not starting this thread to bash Wilco, I don't know enough about them to make any statements, I would just like Wilco (or Uncle Tupelo) fans to help show me why they are fans.

Thanks!

Last edited by Brain Stew; 05-05-03 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 05-05-03, 06:36 PM
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I'm not a huge fan of Wilco myself, but Yankee Foxtrot Hotel is actually pretty decent.

I didn't find the 1st track to be that good, but if you continued listening - the 2nd track "Kamera" is really catchy.

My favorite song from the CD is "Jesus, etc" (track 5)... hard to explain, but it's just so mellow yet catchy.
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Old 05-05-03, 06:40 PM
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I don't see why anyone who grew up on authentic rock music would not like this album. Howe many times have you listened to it. The songs are catchy, innovative and fun to listen to. There are all kinds of interesting instrumentation that add mystery to the songs and make repeated listenings a blast. Maybe you need to listen to it more, but I was humming Heavy Metal Drummer, Kamera and War on War after the first listening.
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Old 05-05-03, 06:47 PM
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Re: What is the appeal of Wilco?

Originally posted by Brain Stew
I honestly cannot understand the appeal of Wilco. After hearing the amount of praise that Yankee Foxtrot Hotel has received, I tried listening to it in a store, but could not make it past the first track. After I heard "I'm an American aquarium drinker..." sung in what sounded (to me) off key. I am not starting this thread to bash Wilco, I don't know enough about them to make any statements, I would just like Wilco (or Uncle Tupelo) fans to help show me why they are fans.

Thanks!
Do you really believe that people speaking about the music will make you enjoy it?

If you honestly want to give the music a chance, why not listen to more than 7 minutes of their output?
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Old 05-05-03, 06:59 PM
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YHF is my favorite album of all time, but I didn't realize it until several listens in. To try to explain it would be an exercise in futility--you either like it, or you don't. But judging a band's entire output based on one song you've heard from one album seems a little foolish to me.
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Old 05-05-03, 07:25 PM
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They are not an old band, but they have evolved so much over their short time together. They are always fresh and make me feel comfortable through their music.

They understand what they are doing and don't step down from what they strive for like so many bands today.

I also love every different style they bring to all of their songs and albums as a whole.

And...Jeff Tweedy is a Golden God.
His voice is spectacular.

Last edited by conscience; 05-05-03 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 05-05-03, 07:27 PM
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First off - you need to listen to an entire album before you ask how/why fans like them. Secondly, if you want to try getting into Wilco, I recommend listening to Summerteeth and/or Being There before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (their 3rd best album, imo). Their first album A.M. is a nice intro to the band, too, but it is much more straight-ahead mellow folk-rock album and lacked the experimentation that was present in their following releases, particularly the last two. Like conscience said, they have evolved nicely over the course of their albums - so you could possibly listen to them in the order they were released or something. As they progress w/ each album, it appears that they have fewer limits set upon themselves.

It's hard to explain the appeal to Wilco. They are just a good rock/folk/alt-country band that has their own sound. I grew up listening to Uncle Tupelo - so why don't you start there. They just re-mastered all four albums (No Depression; Still Feel Gone; March 16-20, 1992; and Anodyne, which is fantastic) - so give them a listen, then ease yourself into Wilco. I have heard people say that Wilco is a little too pretentious, but I don't think so. Radiohead is pretentious, not Wilco.
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Old 05-05-03, 07:55 PM
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great freakin' band

You gotta give them another listen, if you didn't like yfk, you'ld prob like Summerteeth or something more. Not sure, they're all good in my opinion.
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Old 05-05-03, 07:58 PM
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I personally think Jeff Tweedy is one of the best living songwriters.
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Old 05-05-03, 08:00 PM
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Echo the comments of the other fans here... the first track of "YHF" is not necessarily the best place to start for a newcomer. (The "poppier" songs are further on into the CD.) I think all the albums are strong (yes, even A.M.) in their own way.
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Old 05-05-03, 08:06 PM
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I am a fan of Wilco because their music is great. Why it's great? I'm not really sure. Maybe the lyrics, maybe the melodies, I don't know.
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Old 05-05-03, 08:07 PM
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Like most have already said, you should probably listen to more than just the first track of that album if you are truly interested in what their appeal is.

Jeff Tweedy writes solid pop songs that are just as interesting as they are accessible. But what does it for me - and what apparently led you astray - is Tweedy's vocals. It's not theatrical and it's not deadpan, it's not polished, it's rough and it's emotive. When I read over his lyrics I think they are often clever, but not as profound as others. But I don't think many current singers could pull off "you were right about the stars / each one is a setting sun" and avoid cringe-inducing melodrama. It's all so sincere that I wouldn't be honest if I said I hated it.
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Old 05-05-03, 09:17 PM
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Alright, I realize that I should have given the band more credit, and tried to listen to more tracks but I had an abrasive reaction to the track. As for all the negative comments about my post, I figured that people could tell me what they like about the band and/or any songs that they enjoy. If you were to ask me about ZWAN, or The Ramones, or The Rolling Stones, I could tell you why I like them and my favorite songs. No need to get testy guys, I don't know why some of you are getting angry, like I said no offense to the band. I just wanted to know if I was missing out on a good thing.
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Old 05-05-03, 09:21 PM
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Well, you've got to realize that whenever you start a post with something like, "What is the appeal of 'X'," anyone who has X as their favorite band will get a little defensive.

Anyway, Wilco's not my favorite band, but in the top 15 or so for sure. I like bands that change and grow over their albums (Beatles, Bowie, etc.) and Wilco has done that, from the country folk of their debut to the Beach Boys pop of Summerteeth to the strange, murky and surreal meanderings of YHF. I grow to like Foxtrot a little more each time I play it -- I don't think it's meant to be an album that provides instant gratification, it's one that sinks into your brain and simmers for a while. Rewarding stuff in an age that too often rewards shallowness without substance.
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Old 05-05-03, 10:22 PM
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Brain, I think the main reason you might have gotten negative reactions is because you said you never listened past the first track. All of us who have heard this album know that RIGHT beyond cut one is some pretty sweet and catchy rock music (not slagging cut one, but it is a bit weirder).

I like Wilco, and especially YHF, because it's rootsy rock... meaning timeless and grounded in exactly what the Stones and bands like that have always done. No frills. But with this latest effort they did tinker a little more with some strange effects and off-kilter moments. For a fan of alt-country and someone who also LOVES electronic music, this is about as good as it gets. Not that this is an eletronic album. It's got bits of the stuff... yadda yadda. And I haven't even mentioned the lyrics.

Go back and listen to more than just the first song. You'll also discover, as with some of the greatest recordings ever, you won't get into it on one listen.
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Old 05-05-03, 11:46 PM
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Actually, "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" is my favorite song on the album and probably my favorite Wilco song period. However, it is one of their least accessible tunes. I just think it's a brilliant album opener.

Why do I like Wilco? What's not to like? Brilliant lyrics, killer melodies. It's accessible and intelligent at the same time, which you don't see very often. Listen to "Heavy Metal Drummer" or "I'm the Man Who Loves You"....much more tuneful than "I Am Trying..." but no less brilliant.
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Old 05-06-03, 02:25 AM
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I also love the opening track on Yankee Hotel......

that's one of six YHF songs they played on Saturday at a free show I saw them at.
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Old 05-06-03, 10:05 AM
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I've listened to all of their albums to date, but they just don't do anything for me. Of course, I'd rather listen to them than just about any other pop group recording today, but that speaks more to the sad state of popular music rather than how much I actually enjoy their albums.
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Old 05-06-03, 07:06 PM
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Wilco is my favorite band these days. I was introduced through the MA discs, and the first thing that hooked me was Jeff Tweedy's voice.

I love Jeff Tweedy's songwriting--typically since I am an English major. I really like [most] of the lyrics to Wilco songs, and I love Tweedy's dark "moody brooding." I can completely understand how this is not enjoyable for others, though. My mother hates them for the most part, because she wants something "fun" that she "doesn't have to think about." I like to have to think about things--it's just something I enjoy.

As far as the music goes, I love how Wilco has followed creative instincts instead of making music because they know it will sell. Every album showcases a progression from the last, and I think that you can hear in their earlier stuff the later stuff (think about how easily "Misunderstood" and "Sunken Treasure" could have fit in on YHF). I'm not one who thinks that a musician should be true to ONLY one genre, because I understand how one can get bored and want to try new things. I respect that in artists, and Wilco is a great example of this kind of thing.

As far as people on this board not liking "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart," I don't understand at all! It's definitely one of my favorite songs, and I think it probably IS my favorite on YHF. How could you NOT love the lyrics "I wanna hold you in the Bible-black pre-dawn" and "Let's undress just like cross-eyed strangers." ???

That said, I'm the only girl I know personally who loves Wilco.
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Old 05-06-03, 07:10 PM
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I guess you have never been in the military, WilCo is a old but still used phrase part of Roger WilCo which in air force lingo means 'Yes I will co-operate'
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Old 05-06-03, 07:25 PM
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Originally posted by Penny Lane
That said, I'm the only girl I know personally who loves Wilco.
You must live in the wrong part of the country, because I know plenty of ladies who love Wilco and, of course, Jeff Tweedy.
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Old 05-06-03, 08:48 PM
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Penny Lane,

other than Tweedy's lyrics, the drums on I am trying to break your heart kick some major ass.
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Old 05-06-03, 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by bahist17
You must live in the wrong part of the country, because I know plenty of ladies who love Wilco and, of course, Jeff Tweedy.
No, they love Glenn Kotche.

I know there ARE some, they just aren't in Alabama.
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Old 05-06-03, 09:22 PM
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Conscience:

I know. Glenn Kotche is a major addition to the band, and he's a fabulous drummer. Very avant-garde, understandably, given the Jim O'Rourke connection. Have you heard his solo stuff? Introducing and Next? I love the first one, but I haven't heard Next. Can't get ahold of it.
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Old 05-06-03, 10:00 PM
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Clever, insightful lyrics
Shimmering production by Jim O'Rourke
Incredibly inventive and surprising arrangements
Great hooks
Tight musicianship


...what's not to like? YHF was clearly the best album of last year, IMO.
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