Quick Review (LP): A.M. by Wilco


Wilco
A.M.
Sire; 1995

My Rating: C (50/100)

Best Tracks: "I Must Be High", "Casino Queen", "Boxful of Letters", "I Thought I Held You", "Dash 7", “Passenger Side”

Not there yet.

NOTES

  • "I Must Be High" sounds like a Travelling Wilburys outtake. Catchy as a glove.
  • "Casino Queen" has a very FM radio feel. Sort of like 70’s Rod Stewart backed by 70’s Stones.
  • "Boxful of Letters" is a great tune, though a sub-par vocal peformance by Tweedy.
  • "Shouldn’t Be Ashamed" and "Pick Up The Change" start to run together. Average alt-rock.
  • "I Thought I Held You" is a cool tune. A bit like the direction the band would take on Being There. More alt-country.
  • Same for "That’s Not The Issue", but it’s not as good as the previous track. Sounds kinda jokey.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Stirrat!!! ("It’s Just That Simple")
  • Some of the album’s best tunes are located towards the end. "Passenger Side" is one of the record’s grittier tunes, and "Dash 7" again foreshadows Being There as a more intimate, cosmic american music number.
  • "Blue-Eyed Soul" is sort of dull, mostly due to Tweedy’s vocals. I think he was too low in his range. Not a lot of soul in his voice. Maybe he’s hinting at irony there?
  • The riff on "Too Far Apart" sounds like it could’ve been a little more memorable with just a little more time.
  • The tunes here are surprisingly good. The problem wasn’t so much tunes as it was concept. The whole thing feels a bit like a commercial play, a bit generic, with no artistic personality other than radio-friendly alt-country, like a rootsier version of any one of the faceless grunge bands that MTV subjected us to back in the mid-90’s.
  • Also, Tweedy hadn’t really found his voice at this point. He was trying to be very full-throated back then, instead of embracing that wonderfully croaky croon of his. He was a youngster.
  • Here’s my write-up of AM from back in 2009. I more or less say the same things about it.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (2/5)
Consequence (3/5)
Consistency (3.5/5)
Songs (4/5)

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