Your Favorite Wilco Album?

I’m sitting here resting in my room in Amsterdam after a nice day exploring the canals, museums, bars, shops, and coffeeshops. As is often the case, I find myself listening to Wilco. Whenever I listen to Wilco for more than a song or two, I find myself cycling through their stuff an album at a time rather than shuffling it all together. There’s so much good stuff there, it’s hard to make a single choice as to favorite album. Lately, I’ve been starting with one particular album, and I could limit this down to a choice between 2 (maybe 3), but left them all in, including the Mermaid Avenue collaborations with Billy Bragg. What say the readers of EMP? I’m holding my vote until I get through some more music.

14 thoughts on “Your Favorite Wilco Album?

  1. peashoot

    Ahhhh… Resting in a hotel room in Amsterdam, listening to Wilco. Life sure sounds nice for you right now! Wish I were there, too. I’ll vote shortly.
    Geniet, mijn firend!

  2. peashoot

    Had to go with “A Ghost is Born.” But it was a tough call. I really, really like the first four tracks on “The Album,” and “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” is pretty fine, but I guess I associate some fond memories with “A Ghost is Born,” and those associations prevailed. I vividly recall hearing the album for the first time, streaming from, on Smersy’s laptop, over a table scattered with beers, sweet cheese, and cribbage at the cottage on the Cape. Damn good time. Damn good album (although I do generally skip over “Hummingbird”).

  3. Sara Keegan

    Do you listen to The Minus 5? I like Wilco’s collaborations a lot, too, I find. Hard to pick a favorite album…. have 2-3 fav songs per album (almost!)

  4. wildbillyscircusstory

    I voted for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for the same reason Peashoot stated – associations. A friend and I were going up to Milwaukee for a Springsteen show and we brought along a couple new CD’s to listen to on the drive. Sweeping along I-94 on a beautiful fall afternoon, listening to YHF for the first time is an experience seared into my synapses. We went to the show (which was great) and listened to the album a second time on the way home. Even though I had purchased the CD, I agreed to let her “borrow” it so she could presumably burn it. Knowing she would do no such thing, I went out again the very next day and bought it again.

    Part of my affinity for the album is its status as one that’s best when played in it’s entirety rather than a track here or there. That puts it in some rarified company: Blood on the Tracks and Astral Weeks type territory. An astounding album.

    I’m totally spoiled Wilco-wise here in Chicago. I’ve seen Tweedy play solo acoustic shows at small bars (Martyr’s if anyone cares) and I was at a show at the Vic that became a concert video from what I hear. What a great day it was the first time I heard that album.

  5. smersy Post author

    I can totally relate with all of these comments. My experience first listening to YHF is similar to wildbilly’s – listened to it front to back over and over again on a road trip to Tahoe and back. It’s truly one of the great complete album’s of all time, I think. That said, I also have those same positive associations with Ghost as Peashoot, largely because we listened to it together and with Pedro that first time on a crappy laptop-native speaker and still found it amazing.

    In the end I, too, went with YHF though both Ghost and the Album crossed my mind. And, while Summer Teeth is very different, I think you’d all find there are some incredible gems in there (Via Chicago) and with repeated listening, it continues to provide me with new moments and respect.

    Sara, I also love the Wilco collaborations, especially Loose Fur ( with Jim O’Rourke. Loose Fur EP (eponymous) has some really unique music and immediately became a fave. Born Again in the USA has a great theme exploring some of the funnier edges of American religion, and some fine tunes as well.

  6. smersy Post author

    BTW, Sara, no copping out! If you had to choose just one of these, which would it be? =)

  7. wildbillyscircusstory

    A final thought on YHF: the album cover photo is of two iconic Chicago buildings. It’s impossible for me to walk across either the Dearborn or Clark Street bridges — with those buildings dominating the view — and not have “Jesus, etc.” And for those interested in trivia, I believe those buildings are prominently featured in the original Bob Newhart show intro.

  8. wildbillyscircusstory

    Oh, and it took me a few listens to wrap my arms around Loose Fur, but I really dig it now.

  9. Sara Keegan

    Scott- I voted! I choose Wilco (The Album) for a couple of reasons. Love the music, listen to it currently more than other albums and my kids love it, too. It is very exciting when your children choose music you consider great, when there is so much that is “not great” out there for them to choose. Brad plays guitar and Spencer plays drums, and they really listen to music, and love certain bands. Their enjoyment influences mine…. nothing like getting in the car and all agreeing on what to play. I do need to introduce them to some of the older stuff, too, though. (Although they think it’s corny when I play the Woody Guthrie stuff). Mermaid Avenue may actually be my favorite… difficult….

  10. smersy Post author

    Sara – Can’t argue with you one bit – good stuff. I love Mermaid Avenue as well. From Mermaid #2, I think, your kids must like “Airline to Heaven”, though, right?

    WildBilly – When I was in Chicago Oct 2008, my wife and I took the boat tour, showing all the great architecture, and I remember thinking how amazing those buildings looked from the river as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.