1) I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Tucker Phillips: Wake up Wilco, it’s time for school!
Jackson Scott: But mom!
TP: NO BUTS MISTER.
JS: You can’t make me! I’m going to assassin down the avenue.
TP: The sound of bleary eyes. Jeff Tweedy’s voice is like a sepia-toned photograph of puppies frolicking in the snow.
JS: I’m not sure about that.
André Theuerkauf: *Husky puppies.
TP: It’s *like* that. We didn’t mention how amazing that first bass note was but hey, that first bass note is pretty amazing.
JS: It’s like a sepia-toned photograph of a couple kissing in a park…but neither is him.
Ian Neal: I’m not getting puppies from Tweedy either.
Michael Frett: I like what’s going on with all of those drums and such.
JS: The drums on this record are p. cool.
TP: And those piano plinks.
IN: I actually really like that imagery Jackson, it’s something like that.
JS: But Jeff’s not too worked up about it.
AT: It’s as if the plinko game from teh price is right made brilliant music to the rhythm of the plinko disc falling.
TP: Jeff seems more like a Wheel watcher.
IN: This song is…sad, but also not sad.
JS: Wilco does that.
MF: Just watching those wheel go round and round.
JS: Emotional vacancy.
TP: Every line in this song is amazing.
TP: THE WHEELS ARE COMING OFF.
IN: Agreed, fantastic lyrics.
TP: If Ghost is a migraine, this seems like a hangover.
JS: Ghost is extraordinarily underrated.
TP: It’s like YHF‘s older brother.
JS: What’s your opinion on the record we aren’t talking about?
TP: You mean the blue album?
JS: Secretly the best song.
AT: Is that a great drop D or what, half step down maybe? Dunno, but I’m loving it.
TP: The backing vocals seal it. I don’t know my Ds from my Bs. Jeff’s a dick, seriously. Hiding his lies, counting on a heart he knows by heart, etc. It’s not OK.
JS: He was entirely messed up on drugs if I remember correctly. At least he admits it’s not ok.
TP: Acceptance is key.
JS: That guitar.
TP: Those twinkles.
3) Radio Cure
JS: This is secretly the best song.
IN: I was just going to say that.
TP: So I’ve said it before but the bass on this song totally killed a set of speakers I had. A fitting end, I think.
IN: Secretly the best lyrics.
JS: Riiight. This song has so many feels.
TP: I don’t wanna be that guy, but this song doesn’t do much for me.
IN: Get out.
JS: Get out.
TP: It’s pretty and all, but I love everything else on here so much more. It’s the only song here that gives me a mopey vibe. The “picking apples” line saves it though.
JS: This song is secretly the crux of the entire album. The chorus is a heartcrusher. Cheer up.
TP: Working on it.
IN: Oh man, the last two minutes of this song are one of my favorite parts of the album.
TP: Had a lot of bands used radio static like this? It’s such a strangely emotional sound.
MF: It’s a pretty lovely sound.
JS: That’s why I got into this album.
AT: It’s like using a satellite to try and pick up signals of other life, but…you hear…nothing…
TP: Echoes, breh.
JS: It’s about connection/reception.
TP: Echoes out forever. Jeff’s gotta tune his dial a little better next time.
AT: Sounds like someone had a bad long distance relationship.
4) War on War
TP: Not so secretly the best song.
MF: I heard you like acoustic guitars in stereo.
AT: How many instruments have I already heard in the first minute?
JS: The guitars on this album are waaayyy better than they should be.
TP: Wilco’s a band that knows their way around a gee-tar. And a sweet honky-tonk outfit.
JS: Would now be a good time to mention that one of my favorite artists ever mixed this?
MF: Mention that ish!
TP: Jim love letter time?
JS: Hey guys, that one of my favorite artists mixed this!
TP: Jim O’Rourke’s the name, making good bands better is the game.
JS: Dear Jim,
I love you
TP: RADIO SOLO
JS: Did anyone catch that lyric? You have to learn how to die…
TP: I’m lost in the airwaves.
MF: Having never listened to Wilco before, I have to say that I love this song.
AT: The last note made it the best.
5) Jesus, Etc.
TP: POLARIZING SONG TIME
MF: Fiddle intros, man. Fiddle intros.
TP: I mean, ok fine it’s gorgeous and all.
JS: Tucker, don’t cry.
IN: I saw Wilco and Andrew Bird play that little intro part. It was pretty cool. Chicago boys.
AT: Woah, what a line.
JS: This is secretly the best song on the album.
TP: Chi-town represent.
AT: There it is again.
TP: This is the last song on the album that I think is cool. After this, they’re all MIND-BLOWINGLY COOL. Which is a little bit cooler.
IN: I think it’s a pretty good tune, but it’s not top 5 on this album for me.
JS: This album is amazingly sequenced.
TP: Tells a story for sure.
JS: I know I’m a sequencing nut, but dayum.
IN: I like this song more when I listen to the album from start to finish than if I hear it on its own.
JS: And this is only my #4 of 2002. What a year! Totally agreed with you Ian.
TP: I agree Ian, makes way more sense to me as part of the album.
AT: Albums are the best way to listen to any song, personally.
JS: It depends on the song and album.
TP: You’re a dying breed, Theuerfkauf.
6) Ashes of American Flags
IN: This song.
JS: UNLIT CIGARETTES.
TP: That guitar riff. Those lyrics.
MF: So does Wilco like Bob Dylan or something like that? Because this song gives me a weird idea that they like Bob Dylan.
TP: They’re acquainted.
JS: It’d be weird if they didn’t.
TP: This song destroys me.
IN: Awesome line.
MF: That’s some heavy lyrics going on there.
TP: The way this song ebbs and flows is just astounding to me.
IN: “I shake like a toothache when I hear myself sing.” Just, wow.
JS: Wilco masters dynamics on this record.
TP: I would like to salute. The ashes of American flags.
AT: That’s an odd note that guitar hits. But it’s also kinda the right one.
JS: That’s meant to be a laser noise.
TP: TURN UP
TP: THE RADIO
AT: Rocket ships?
TP: Laika, come home!
AT: Worm hole.
IN: This album has its Revolution #9 moments.
7) Heavy Metal Drummer
TP: This song is def. not one of those moments.
IN: Yay! This song. No, not at all.
TP: I always saw the spacier stuff as more of a Pink Floyd kinda thing.
JS: I never noticed that drum shuffle.
TP: This song is adorable by the way.
MF: Kicking it into Insterstellar Overdrive and whatnot. With all the spacey stuff.
JS: That bass drum though.
JS: That bass guitar.
TP: This song is beautiful AND stoned.
JS: Two things.
IN: This song is so summery, and not even because of the summery lyrics. Or not only because of them.
MF: That is one hell of a drum beat.
TP: Yup, always puts me in a park in May.
MF: I’ll never look at KISS songs the same way again.
JS: Tucker, you discovered teleportation?
TP: I’m a magic man. Before we move on, everyone please adjust your volume upwards by 2 or 3 notches.
AT: Fasten our seat-belts?
8) I’m the Man Who Loves You
JS: This is one of my favorite songs EVER.
TP: This song is perfection.
MF: Neil Young. “Down by the River.” That solo right there.
AT: I don’t need to hear any more. It’s my favorite.
TP: This song makes me happy.
MF: Guys, I love this song. More than the other song that I said I love.
JS: It gets weirder.
TP: It gets BETTER.
AT: Wowzers. I have a new favorite Wilco song.
TP: HORNS! That other Wilco song is so blue right now.
AT: I don’t know how much more I can take.
JS: The chords made with the vocals and horns are sooo weird.
AT: Too much good.
TP: THE GUITAR PLAYER’S BROKEN GET SOME WD40
AT: It’s so good, I hate it, but I just can’t hate it really in the end, so I end up loving it.
MF: It’s like everything I love about old school American music thrown into one song.
JS: Plus static.
AT: I have a new song to learn now. Dang it, I was gonna study.
TP: Give me 40 Wilcos.
MF: I love that guitar.
AT: They should retire that guitar’s number.
9) Pot Kettle Black
TP: That opening always seems so simple but there’s a ton going on.
JS: That’s kind of true of this whole album.
TP: I don’t have much to say about this one. It’s just so perfectly built.
JS: I have to admit that I never ever remember what this song sounds like. But it is always good.
TP: This is the sleeper hit. The sucker punch. The…song that’s good that you forget about.
JS: That guitar interlude.
AT: His voice just sounds like an extension of the instruments, and blends in. In a good way.
MF: This is the type of song where I’ll enjoy it on the album, but never really go to it as an individual song.
JS: It’s the song that has the important job of transitioning between “Man Who Loves You” and “Poor Places”.
MF: Like, it’s really good. But it doesn’t stand out. At least not with present company.
TP: Gotta set the stage.
JS: It’s such a crucial interlude though.
AT: It brought me down from the high of that exploding guitar of the previous song.
TP: You’re only gonna go lower, bub.
JS: Grab the Kleenex.
10) Poor Places
TP: Jesus Christ.
JS: Was an only child.
AT: Flatline yet?
TP: This song brings back memories more vividly than just about any song.
MF: I hate to make another Bob Dylan reference, but the guy’s voice is so pleasantly nasally at times that it just reminds me of Dylan in all the right ways.
AT: Steady at 60 bpm? I lost th e pulse!
TP: WE LOST HIM
MF: QUICK! GET THE SHOCK CART!
TP: GET ME 30CCS OF BASS, STAT
JS: I get that Scoops. Same timbre.
TP: Wilco samba.
MF: I like how it just rolled into pianos right there.
TP: I never noticed the stereo-panned pianos going on there.
JS: This record has some beautifully weird chord progressions. Is anybody else getting that?
TP: Definitely. But it feels natural.
JS: Exactly. Never realized that before.
IN: Totally! This and Radio Cure have that in common I think.
TP: Or at least very effective in getting the emotional point across.
MF: I was just going to say that it feels so natural that I didn’t really notice it before.
TP: It makes no difference to me.
AT: Father Nature?
JS: THIS PART
IN: Ok the end of this song is a Revolution #9 moment.
JS: More like a Day in the Life moment.
TP: Revolution #9 wishes it could stand at the same bus stop as this song.
IN: Now we’re just splitting hairs.
MF: “A Day in the Life” vibes. I’m with Jackson on that one.
AT: Splitting hairs is actually really hard to do.
JS: And mine are standing right up straight.
TP: So this song has one of my favorite musical moments ever in it. I’ll be sure to freak out about it at the appropriate time.
JS: That cymbal crash thing.
TP: That everything is beautifulness. That radio wooga wooga wooga.
JS: The thing I love about this album is how elastic it is.
MF: Gosh. This song is hitting on a bunch of emotional levels that I totally did not expect to be hit at.
JS: How patient it is.
TP: Tweedy’s gonna experience his moment and you’re gonna SIT BACK AND ENJOY IT.
Here it comes here it comes here it comes!
(Note: Tucker is talking about the moment at 3:38 in the youtube video)
Chills. Every single time.
JS: Wilco’s gone Avant.
TP: Geiger solo.
AT: Ah, so this is one of those albums that ends with a song that is totally like, half silent and really drawn out at the end?
TP: You betcha.
IN: OR IS IT
JS: I love this outro.
MF: Quite the fade out, there.
JS: Yo. The song ended as my radiator was turning on. And it felt like the album.