You should be listening to Wilco!

And from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo, Jeff Tweedy and Wilco rose like a phoenix!  Created in 1994 after the demise of the oft contentious Uncle Tupelo, the original line up of Wilco consisted of the entire band of Uncle Tupelo minus Jay Farrar.  Wilco was named after the voice procedure idiom “wilco” meaning “Will Comply” which Tweedy found to be an ironic choice for a rock band.

With their debut album A.M., released in 1995, Wilco was still well-established in the Alt/Country sound, however, their musical evolution has found them experimenting with alternative rock and pop.  The band considered the album a failure due to the modest reception by critics and fans alike and the fact that Jay Farrar’s new band Son Volt had released their debut album Trace and it fared better both critically and commercially. 

Being There was the overly ambitious (19 songs) sophomore effort that was released as a double album but sold for a single album price.  This was accomplished by Tweedy agreeing to give the label (Reprise) Wilco’s share of album royalties.  It is estimated that the band lost more than half a million dollars.  The album was a hit with critics and reached 73 on the Billboard album chart. 

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was released in 2001, after much turmoil and confusion, and eventual dismissal from their previous label. It became their best selling album and to date has sold almost 600,000 copies.  In addition to the commercial success, critics raved and Billboard ranked it 13 on its charts and Rolling Stone Magazine listed as one of the 50 best albums of the decade.  With the follow up release of A Ghost is Born Wilco received a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and became the bands first top ten album. 

Wilco discography:

  • A.M.
  • Being There
  • Summerteeth
  • Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
  • A Ghost is Born
  • Kicking Television (Live in Chicago)
  • Sky Blue Sky
  • Wilco (The Album)

Top 5 Wilco Songs:

  1. Either Way (Sky Blue Sky)
  2. Box Full of Letters (A.M.)
  3. Sunken Treasure (Being There)
  4. Jesus, Etc. (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot)
  5. Theologians (A Ghost is Born)

Wilco, in the face of their career long major label affiliation, is seen more as an indie band and have been categorized as alt/country, alternative rock, pop, and roots-rock.  Critics have even referred to them as an Americanized adaptation of Radiohead; this is in large part to the diversity of their sound and catalog.  The diversity has certainly been enabled by the rotating members of the band.  Since their inception, Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt are the only original members. 

Whatever the comparison or classification, they simple truth is that Wilco is a great band that has maintained their integrity while staying relevant.  As fickle as critics and consumes are, this band has persevered and in many ways influenced countless bands along the way.

Check out Wilco at www.wilcoweb.com.

Wilco’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.wilcoweb.com.

Great music awaits!

About Butlerbad

I'm just a dude with a wealth of musical knowledge, an extensive music collection, and internet access. View all posts by Butlerbad

33 responses to “You should be listening to Wilco!

  • Insurance Telemarketing

    Ahh!! This is just the stuff I love!! Thanks for recommending Wilco, I’m going to check it out.

  • pnutfilms

    you should be listening to Portugal The Man. they have four very different albums and are coming out with a fifth one. they are awesome!

  • The Great Southern Brainfart

    Love the blog but I have to say that Wilco is hands down one of the most overrated and drab bands of all time. I think Tweedy is an excellent songwriter with piss poor delivery. These guys can literally piss in a cup and their fans would buy it on CD, Cassette, Vinyl and any other medium they can squeeze it on!

    Try listening to Drivin’ N Cryin’ (lead by Kevn Kinney) and you’ll REALLY hear a tragically overlooked and ignored band band that can really not only write a song but deliver it with gusto and tons of heart!

    • butlerbad

      I agree with you on Drivin & Cryin. I’ve got several of their albums. I also think the Jayhawks are a bit overlooked as far as similar era bands. Although they did receive more attention than some. Thanks for checking out the blog.

    • liz

      i disagree about the piss poor delivery. jeff’s voice is like a huge comforter in front of a crackling campfire….gentle, pleasant, and beautiful in my opinion.

      i want him to sing lullabyes to me as i drift off….

  • Mr. River Burger

    I vote Shot in the Arm on Summerteeth for #6 on your song list.

  • Shelley

    I love this blog! Great Job!!!!

  • Nicole

    Did I tell you I went to the Wilco show? They really put on a great concert and I love how the audience gets together and sings Jesus etc. It was kind of moving… I don’t care for all of their stuff on their cd’s but I would definitely suggest to anyone to go see a live show. It’s worth it. : )

    • butlerbad

      That is awesome. I certianly think that some of their albums take a few spins before they sink in. They are indeed good live band. I caught them at ACL a few years back. At times, it seems like they intentionally make it difficult to like or understand the music.

  • mewhee2

    I love love LOVE Wilco! I was introduced to A Ghost is Born a few years back and have not stopped listening to them. My favorite albums are Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (I’m Trying to Break Your Heart took music to a whole other level for me) and A Ghost is Born (which brings me to one of my favorite songs by any band – At Least That’s What You Said). Thanks for sharing – it always nice to meet other people with good taste!

    • butlerbad

      I’m glad you liked the blog. Thanks for checking it out. Feel free to peruse the old posts as well. If followed both Tweedy and Farrar from Uncle Tupelo. There have certianly been hit or miss moments for both but I think as a whole, they have fared well.

  • ryan

    Awesome post! I’m surprised to see “Either Way” as the top Wilco song, though. One, because it was off of Sky Blue Sky (which it seemed not many people liked compared to A Ghost is Born – not me, I love SBS), and two, because even on that album, I thought there were better songs. However, I do love that song as well. I’m glad that you’re giving Wilco the recognition that they deserve!

    • butlerbad

      Either Way is not the top song but in the top 5. I usually preface it by saying “In no particular order” but forgot today. I thougth Sky Blue Sky was a great album and their probalby were better songs musically but that one just stuck with me. Might have been a timing issue. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  • Uzz

    Great comments today dude!!

    • butlerbad

      I bet that was a great show. What a cool venue to catch the show. I ,too, think they tend to be progressive in their approach. I’m a fan of Lloyd as well, he has produced and played on some mighty fine albums.

  • Uzz

    The one thing that I truly respect about Wilco is that they are not afraid to try new things and new technologies to create in their medium. I tend to like the first four records a lot more than their latter, but each album has its not sense of purpose and that is cool:-) I love “Box Full of Letters” as well, but my Top 5 include, “Dash 7” (featuring the GREAT Lloyd Maines on pedal steel), “Hotel Arizona” and “Red-Eyed and Blue” from Being There, “A Shot in the Arm” from Summerteeth (maybe my fave album) and “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I got to see them at the old Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas when they toured Yankee and it was incredible!!

  • Alex

    Everyone should be listening to Wilco pretty much all the time, really. My favorite album is probably either Summerteeth or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but in general these guys have never released a bad album. Cheers!

    • butlerbad

      I like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as well. A.M. is pretty solid but more grounded in the Uncle Tupelo sound. Being There is also a good one to play all the way throuogh. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  • Fernando Souza

    Is there a place where I can listen to short audio clips?

  • xthecoolx

    i dunno, man. wilco’s alright, i guess, but a recommend for them is like recommending radiohead to hipsters, dig? i mean, are there people still alive who don’t know who wilco are by now?

    • butlerbad

      I approach the blog as if no one has. I realize that they have been around and have a considerable fan base and people should be aware. I’ve been a fan of Tweedy since Uncle Tupelo. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  • butlerbad

    If you catch them in bits and pieces or just what is on the radio, they do come across that way. If you want to give them a try, check out Sky Blue Sky, A.M. or Being There.

  • Allison

    Love Wilco, though Wilco: The Album was sheer disappointment. Only one or two catchy songs on it and even my least favorite songs from Yankee Hotel, A Ghost is Born, or Sky Blue Sky are better than even the best on Wilco: The Album.

    They’re fantastic in concert– I’ve seen them twice.

    To the person who mentioned that everyone knows Wilco– I have talked to TONS of people who have no idea who Wilco are. 🙂

    Finally, The Jayhawks and Golden Smog (also featuring Tweedy and a couple of Jayhawks guys) are both excellent additions to any Wilco-lover’s collection. Weird Tales (Golden Smog) has a number of excellent songs on it.

    • butlerbad

      I’m surprised how many people are not aware of Wilco. I think Golden Smog is pretty good and the Jayhawks are unsung musical heros. Never really got the due. Both will be featured in future blogs. I’m hoping that Wilco (The Album) will gain some ground with a few more spins. I have found that their albums get better the more you listen. I had to shelf it a while back. Might be time to try again.

      Thanks for checking out the blog.

  • Tom Gentry

    I’ve long been a fan of WILCO. “She’s a Jar” should be in that list of their top five.There aren’t a lot of record I like more than Summerteeth.

    • butlerbad

      Thanks for checking out the blog. I think Summerteeth is pretty great. She’s a Jar is in my top 10. MY list was in no particular order. I’ve followed Tweedy since Uncle Tupelo. I’m also a fan of his work with Golden Smog.

  • 2010 in review « Music you should be listening to!

    […] The busiest day of the year was February 17th with 1,101 views. The most popular post that day was You should be listening to Wilco!. […]

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