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I'm with you. I got into Wilco shortly after this record was released. In terms of Wilco's output since, it's not their best record, but in terms of everything else at the time, it's a very good record. Not a "great" record, but a very good one. There's a definite mood to this record, with ebbs and flows, so it's very effective on that level. Maybe it's easy to downplay how good it really is because we now have the benefit of hearing what a great songwriter Tweedy would later become, but songs like "Dash 7" and "Blue-Eyed Soul" would have to rate as classic Wilco moments. And of course "Box Full of Letters" and "I Must Be High" are some of the best 3 minute pop/rock songs you'll ever hear.

 

I think it was the line "can you let the snare crack" in "Blue-Eyed Soul" that hooked me the first time I heard this record. One of Tweedy's finest moments, IMO.

Edited by BolivarBaLues
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i was planning to start an AM appreciation thread soon when i'm drunk but you beat me to it!

 

i love the album. wilco were unheard of down here when it came out (mermaid avenue was our formal introduction). after buying that album, i went back to BT and AM and loved them both. AM struck me from the beginning.

 

i dont think its al-country as people keeping saying. most of the songs are simple little rockers that deserved airplay and could have been hits... true, some tunes (its just that simple and thats not the issue have the twang), but i cant hear country vibes in box full of letters, too far apart, shouldnt be ashamed or passenger side)

 

i was listening to a show recently where jeff refered to the album as the "bastard child of our catalogue". which unfortunately is true. pity they dont really play much off it at all nowadays. pick up the change and should've been were regulars in the set in late 2001 but then everything apart from passenger side and casino queen seemed to disappear down the shitter.

 

i give it :thumbup

 

and the "pissed that you missed" rhyme is worth the price of admission alone :lol

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A few thoughts:

1 - It's funny how much everyone acts like they hate this album, yet on rare days when they bust out "Passenger Side" or "Casino Queen," everyone goes crazy and a surprising number of people seem to know all of the words.

 

2 - "Too Far Apart" is just simply excellent!

 

3 - I think that even considering "Summerteeth," this is the album that probably had the highest chance of making Wilco a household name. It's hard to remember what was popular in the mid-90's, but very, very little of it was anywhere near this catchy.

 

4 - Even though I agree with Jeff that it's the "bastard son album," it really wasn't that bad of a debut. I think it really gets lost considering the masterpiece that came after it.

 

Thats all I've got, Greg

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I really do start every day with A.M.--is there a better way to start than with "I Must Be High"? From there it just gets better with every track, except you know which one that all of us usually skip.

 

I do hear Jeff breaking free from Jay on this one too, doing songs like Casino Queen and Passenger Side that ole Jay would never allow of his young prodigy. Then there's the more explicit break-up songs (how else to put it?), like the closer, Too Far Apart, which seems a direct stab.

 

Beyond that dynamic, it's just got a great range of music, from rockers to more countrified tunes to the more experimental but lovely and spacey Dash 7. Next to Another Man's Done Gone on Mermaid, Blue-Eyed Soul may be my favorite Jeff vocal, all stoney and bluesy. The middle selection of songs, from my all-time favorite Box Full of Letters to That's Not The Issue are superb, heartfelt, and by turns mournful and uplifting in a strange way. I should also mention that my wife's favorite of all time is Should of Been in Love, which many women seem to particularly single out as the best on the cd.

 

I love listening to it super loud when I'm long gone late at night (and home alone) or quietly on headphones as background when I'm concentrating on writing or reading.

 

I give it 11 thumbs up out of a possible 10!

 

:thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup :thumbup

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So far everyone has captured so eloquently I don't know how to begin.The stoney,bluesy feel on JT's vocals ('can you let the snare crack') is some of the best of what I call the 3AM albums.That vibe where it's the wee hours of the morning,you're alone & totally pissed up ala the HST persona....I know HST was a big Cowboy Junkies fan,but I'm sure stuff like Blue-Eyed & Dash 7 woulda been right up his alley.

 

Catchy shit usually is the bane of existence but intelligent,catchy shit makes for some grrreat songs.AM features the latter :thumbup Not my favorite Wilco record but it is the one I always put on to turn a newby on to.

Scott

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In all honesty: at its best its a laid back, slick sounding, tastefully hit packed record.

At its worst: an overrushed, less poignant Uncle Tupelo.

 

Its always strange for me cause overall I am a huge Son Volt/Farrar naysayer and a huge Wilco devotee, but when it comes down to it I would take Trace over AM in an instant. I think Wilco did the right thing by moving on, they made amazing records once they shook off their first reflex record. I think Son Volt/Farrar proceeded to paint himself in a corner. If you think this is absolutely a ridiculous criticism, you are not alone and I can respect that.

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In all honesty: at its best its a laid back, slick sounding, tastefully hit packed record.

At its worst: an overrushed, less poignant Uncle Tupelo.

 

Its always strange for me cause overall I am a huge Son Volt/Farrar naysayer and a huge Wilco devotee, but when it comes down to it I would take Trace over AM in an instant. I think Wilco did the right thing by moving on, they made amazing records once they shook off their first reflex record. I think Son Volt/Farrar proceeded to paint himself in a corner. If you think this is absolutely a ridiculous criticism, you are not alone and I can respect that.

 

I'm actually right with you on nearly everything you said. The only place I differ is that I really, really still enjoy Straightaways (when you take out some of Jay's awful out-of-key singing in the later tracks on that album). However, I thought that, while interesting, Jay's solo albums were quite terrible and seemed more like he went "hmmm, let's try this effect out." They don't feel like actual albums, more like experiments, but not in the sense that YHF was (and DEFINITELY not on the same songwriting level)...if that makes any sense.

 

I was, on the other hand, pleasantly surprised and pleased with the new "Son Volt" release. Some of the lyrics still make me cringe in a way Jay can only provide by opening his dictionary and going "I'll write a song about THAT word" (think Caryatid Easy, Creosote, Ipecac). I like abstract lyrics, but honestly...

 

Anyways, AM does, indeed, rock. I hate to compare it to UT or later Wilco efforts, but that's inevitable given the circumstances. While it isn't up to the same level as Trace, UT albums, or the following Wilco albums, it's still a freakin' great album.

 

My two cents anyways. :hmm

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is some of the best of what I call the 3AM albums.That vibe where it's the wee hours of the morning,you're alone & totally pissed up ala the HST persona....

 

That's a very good descriptor of this record. That's what I meant when said that A.M. has a recognizable mood, with ebbs and flows. To me, the best records manage to do this; they're more than just a collection of songs. Great records achieve as a whole something greater than the sum of its parts.

 

I'd love to see a thread dedicated to favorite "3 A.M." records. I know that I have a few.

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Interesting comments. As I was listening to this CD, I thought, IMO, how fantastic it would be if just one night preferably in my city, Wilco, played the entire track list, in the same order, of AM as their main set. I guess as something of a Wilco history lesson to the new fans. This album is just so underappreciated.

 

A few thoughts:

1 - It's funny how much everyone acts like they hate this album, yet on rare days when they bust out "Passenger Side" or "Casino Queen," everyone goes crazy and a surprising number of people seem to know all of the words.

 

2 - "Too Far Apart" is just simply excellent!

 

3 - I think that even considering "Summerteeth," this is the album that probably had the highest chance of making Wilco a household name. It's hard to remember what was popular in the mid-90's, but very, very little of it was anywhere near this catchy.

 

4 - Even though I agree with Jeff that it's the "bastard son album," it really wasn't that bad of a debut. I think it really gets lost considering the masterpiece that came after it.

 

Thats all I've got, Greg

 

Yes!

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how fantastic it would be if just one night preferably in my city, Wilco, played the entire track list, in the same order, of AM as their main set. I guess as something of a Wilco history lesson to the new fans.

 

that was sort of done in 2003... Missoula, where the set ran in chronological order... nice show too

 

I Must be High

Box Full Of Letters

Misunderstood

Far Far Away

Kingpin

One by One

California Stars

I'm Always in Love

I'm The Man Who Loves You

Poor Places

Reservations

I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

War On War

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It's been partially mentioned, but with the Tupelo break-up, critics and fans naturally would compare Trace and AM. And Trace won that battle. I remember reading an article about Wilco listening to Trace in the band bus and really thinking how great it was....perhaps as though maybe they rushed through AM.

 

I don't think Wilco has anything to be ashamed of. AM is very solid. To me, it's like a good, entertaining, fun summer blockbuster movie. I enjoy the hell out of it, but when compared to Trace, it lacks something. Trace might be like a more serious movie that you can't get out of your thoughts for a couple days.

 

 

Anyone else think "I Thought I Held You" is wonderful and beautiful? I don't when the last time Wilco played this....probably back before Being There. That'd be one to bring back live....I KNOW Nels could absolutely nail the slide guitar part.

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Anyone else think "I Thought I Held You" is wonderful and beautiful? I don't when the last time Wilco played this....probably back before Being There. That'd be one to bring back live....I KNOW Nels could absolutely nail the slide guitar part.

Wow, according to Wilcobase, it's been played... once.

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I have always wonderd what happened to the "WILCO" guitar, the one with the lettering on the fret board. Any thoughts, who has it? last time they played it? can I buy it (cheap) Let's discuss ;)

 

 

it shows up in the instruments/equipment section of the Wilco Book, so I'd assume it still belongs to Jeff.

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Hotel Arizona is on Being There.

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Interesting comments. As I was listening to this CD, I thought, IMO, how fantastic it would be if just one night preferably in my city, Wilco, played the entire track list, in the same order, of AM as their main set. I guess as something of a Wilco history lesson to the new fans. This album is just so underappreciated.

Yes!

 

 

Before I read your post, I had the exact same thought! In it's entirety! I expressed on another thread recently, my disappointment at the same old setlists at the Wilco shows I have seen this year. I've made a few shows and have not heard anything from AM, and two songs from SummerTeeth (the obligatory Shot in the Arm and always pleasant Via Chicago).

AM is an awesome record. Though different and maybe not as literate as later records (though I love, "I'm like a songwriter; you're the reason I've run out of metaphors"). IMO the rockers are great and I would love to hear more songs like Walken on the next record.

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