Perfect Albums: Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

People are scared to call albums “perfect”. Most shit-covered critic swines won’t call an album perfect until the artist who created it is either dead or old enough to be dead. They say stuff like “to be a classic an album must survive the test of time”. That translates roughly into:

We are going to play this one safe. If, over a period of twenty years, enough people have agreed that this is a great album, then surely our reputation can not be tarnished if we label this shit perfect.

This is my chance to jump in and call my own advantage. See, I don’t have to worry about a “reputation” because I don’t really have one. And I don’t have to give a “fuck” because I’m still on Blogger and I go by the name of Confusion. Second to lastly, I believe that when it comes to music, it’s mostly about opinion. Yes, there are things that the majority of people can agree on, but if it’s perfect to me, then I’m going to call it perfect. And lastly, I don’t believe an album has to be flawless in order to be perfect. Take that how you want to, but I’m not just bullshitting you and saying stuff that sounds like a good thing to say in a situation like this. I mean it. Let’s go.

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

When I think of modern day classics, this is always, always the first album that comes to mind. The songs build, break, morph and ebb at all the right times. The melodies are timeless and traditional, but there is a complex and diverse sonic element to this album that has yet to be matched in this decade. It’s not something that can be put into words, but you know it when you hear it. The music has a quality that feels simultaneously out of this world and personal; distant but not in the slight bit alienating. It’s an album that you can listen through and never press the “skip track” button. You say it about all your favorite albums, but you’re usually lying.

It’s hard to give a sample, because Yankee Hotel Foxtrot works as a complete unit, with beautiful songs ranging from straightforward pop gems to winding paths that start in a breezy, open field and end up in a burning forest, but here are two of my favorites. “Poor Places” is a little less conventional, and might need a few listens all the way through to appreciate, and “Jesus, etc.” is one of those songs that I think most fall in love with after hearing once. Buy it here, or wherever.

Wilco – Poor Places | YouSendIt

Wilco – Jesus, etc. | YouSendIt

Note: When I started this post, I planned on going through like 10 different modern classics. Decided about half way through that anything labeled with “classic” is probably hefty enough to warrant its own post. So one at a time. You’ll be seeing more of these posts in the future, labeled as “perfect albums”. If you didn’t know, you can click the labels that show up below the post to see other posts labeled with the same thing. You’ll figure it out.


2 Responses to “Perfect Albums: Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”

  1. 1 Neil Cake
    September 25, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Personally, I'd never call an album perfect because I don't really see how an album can be perfect.Perhaps it can be perfect for a particular situation, but the concept of perfection itself implies that the album has a specific purpose – to me, at least.I think the highest superlative I would tend to apply to music would be "brilliant". Not "brilliant" in the way that TV adverts always herald something like "the brilliant new album by the Kaiser Chiefs" or whatever like they always do – when I say an album is brilliant, I mean it quite literally. I mean brilliant in the way you might say that Einstein was a brilliant physicist.Nevertheless, you're the boss, and I applaud your resolution to define your own terms and stick to them.And thanks for the review of YHF. I'm fairly new to Wilco, and it's one I haven't picked up yet, but I feel I can imagine what it's like from reading your post, and I'll look forward to hearing it some time in the future.

  2. 2 Confusion
    September 25, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I hope you like it. Let me know what you think after you give it a few listens (it might take a few).

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