4/12/13

Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

What's exciting about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: The first track, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, ends in a cloud of ambient noise containing two lines of vocals that aren't written in the liner notes. Tweedy sings: "...loves you / I'm the man who loves you..." in a toneless drawl, quoting the chorus from the well-known eighth track of the album, I'm the Man Who Loves You. Despite the words being clearly audible, the melodic and rhythmic lines identical in both tracks, the quotation is almost unrecognizable - the alienated, drunken Tweedy in I Am Trying is the exact opposite of that within Loves You, making the words almost meaningless.

Furthermore, the ambient closing to the sixth track, Ashes of American Flags, quotes the piano line in the following track, Heavy Metal Drummer, in a disjointed fashion. This quotation parallels the aforementioned quotation, and perhaps is more effective - after Ashes stumbles to an end, the confident and nostalgic Heavy Metal Drummer rolls in, the piano line playing in entirety, seeking refuge in a song about past glories and heartbreak.

There's something special about Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; there's a certain spontaneity that doesn't exist in other records. This is ironic considering that YHF was the result of meticulous studio manipulation. But it's almost counterproductive to actually analyze the album. We all know that it's a perfect album, so why ruin the fun by pretending that Tweedy actually knew what he was doing?

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