Wilco: AM (1995)


JUNE 2009 IS WILCO MONTH AT SWEET GEORGIA BREEZES. WE’LL BE COVERING THE BAND’S RECORDED OUTPUT AND HITTING ON SOME OTHER THINGS ABOUT THIS GREAT AMERICAN BAND.

amWilco
AM
Reprise Records; 1995

My Rating: 4/10

As someone who thinks about such things, it’s remarkable to me just how much Wilco’s recording history seems to mirror that of Radiohead. Nowhere is that more evident than with these bands’ debut albums. Radiohead’s PABLO HONEY is a picture of a band learning how to walk, searching for their place in the alternative pantheon, and Wilco’s AM is similarly bland and artistically lacking. While a few tracks do stand out, such as the lead-off power pop of “I Must Be High” and the radio ready “Boxful of Letters”, overall the album doesn’t deliver in the way one would expect Wilco’s debut to deliver. It’s really not worth spending too much time on AM, as this was almost a completely different band at the time. But much like your old home videos, it’s interesting to look back and see just how far they’ve come. Wasn’t it cute when John Stirratt took the lead vocal duties on “It’s Just That Simple” for the first and only time in Wilco history?

The great thing is that, unlike Radiohead, Wilco has never been so estranged from its awkward early years that it refuses to play any of the tunes from the first record live. On the contrary, they seem to be more at home with these songs as the years go by, which is great because the aforementioned “I Must Be High” is a great live tune.

These are pretty happy songs for the most part, even the sad ones, and someone somewhere once said don’t despise the day of small beginnings. Therefore, I’ll salute AM as a great proto-debut, the record where one of my favorite bands cut its teeth on a developing new sound.

Worth checking out for any Wilco devotee.

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One Response to Wilco: AM (1995)

  1. Pingback: Quick Review (LP): A.M. by Wilco « Sweet Georgia Breezes

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