Mendelsohn: Klinger, I’ve never been able to make a connection with Wilco and I don’t know why. I have nothing against their music; in fact, given the choice, I’d pick Wilco over most other listening experiences. I liked the entire week I spent getting reacquainted with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but it’s not an album I found myself reaching for in the past and I doubt that will change going into the future.
When we got to this album I think my reaction was something along the lines of, “Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is number 71 on the Great List? I guess that makes sense.” I also remember being happy that it wasn’t another Bob Dylan album. Anything in particular on this album you want to talk about? If nothing else, it does have an interesting back story.
Klinger: I’m not 100% sure how you manage to listen to Wilco relatively often without forming a connection to it, but I’m sure that will become clear as we go along here. As for me, I was a big fan of Jeff Tweedy’s pre-Wilco band, Uncle Tupelo, and I remember finding it odd that their split led two solid bands, instead of two lousy bands or one good band and one lousy band—it’s a true rarity in the rock world.
At any rate, I drifted away from Wilco in the early part of the ‘00s—apparently the worst possible time to lose touch, as by all accounts they were delivering their career-defining masterpiece with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Classic Klinger timing. So I had a glancing familiarity with many of the songs on the album, because I was a college-educated middle class white male, aged 30-39, and it was a demographic requirement. But very seldom have I really settled in for a listen. Now that we’re forcing ourselves to listen to the greatest albums of all time as per the Great List, I can say that I regret having lost touch. This is a terrific album.
But I’m sorry for interrupting. You were saying something about a back story?