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Wilco Rankings

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My list is earlier in this thread, so I won't repeat it here, but essentially, the first 4 albums are my favorites (not in order) and I've liked each of the last 3 albums less than the previous. I started thinking about why. Is it that I was a huge fan of Wilco with Jay Bennett? Has Tweedy lost his touch? Do I not like Nels? What?


I think one my final realization is just simply that I liked Jeff's voice best in the old days. From No Depression thru YHF. I think he's lost a little something since then. Didn't he have a surgery that altered his singing voice post YHF?


EDITED: his voice is definitely not the only reason...


Jeff did have surgery to correct a deviated septum, but this was part of his recovery from migraines/painkillers, etc. His voice has changed because he's gotten older, no longer smokes, and works at it more. The "Ashes" DVD shows him getting steroid shots after a show while on tour so he can sing up to par night after night. BTW, I've seen many articles that say Jeff's voice has improved since he "recently" quit drinking. WTF? Whatever happened to reporters doing research? Jeff quit drinking in the days of Uncle Tupelo. Kot's "Learning How to Die" book mentions that Jeff fell off the wagon once in '99 on the Summerteeth tour, but he hasn't drank for a long time. Or, to keep up the rant of crappy journalism, I've seen a few articles recently that mention Nels Cline's contributions to Wilco during the AGIB era. He wasn't in the band when they recorded it?


You know what else grinds my gears?


Sorry, that was a long response...

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My favorite Wilco record is the particular one i'm listening to at the particular moment i have to choose. Because i don't happen to listening to Wilco right now, it makes it harder. But BT and YHF are on the top tier, AGIB, AM and ST in the middle, SBS at the bottom. The parenthical record hasn't settled enough yet to find it's true place on the charts.

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1. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

2. Being There

3. Summerteeth

4. Sky Blue Sky

5. A.M.

6. A Ghost Is Born

7. Wilco (The Album)


1 & 2 are interchangeable depending on my mood, as are 5 & 6, but this is how I would rank them if I were carving this in stone.


I dislike "What Light" and "Walken" from SBS, but I love the rest of it and will defend it as a worthy member of the Wilco catalog. I did not always feel this way, but that album has grown on me considerably over the last couple of years, with the exception of the two aforementioned tunes. I think a lot of people have unfairly dismissed gems like "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)" and "Please Be Patient With Me" -- two very underrated songs, in my opinion.


I enjoy AM as much as SBS but I have to rank it just one tick lower. And while I'm finally starting to warm to AGIB after several years of being less than thrilled with it, it still hasn't fully convinced me.


To my ears, W(TA) has one truly great song on it ("One Wing") and another excellent song ("Deeper Down"), and the rest are just so-so. I don't think I'll ever understand why everyone loves "Bull Black Nova" so much. Yawn.


That said, I do like W(TA), and would rank it far above most albums by most other bands. It's just my least favorite of Wilco's albums, which is not to say that I hate it or don't ever want to listen to it. I still hope that it grows on me the way SBS eventually did.

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I agree w/ a lot of what you say here, cryptique. I haven't given up on W(TA) yet. I think a lot of what people have said about SBS here is more true about W(TA). I like Bull Black Nova but it's kind of a Spiders (slight return).

I was hearing the similarities to Spiders alot too, but a couple of days ago i was surprised to hear a bit of SBS in there. They seem antithetical in many ways, but the Jeff and Nels guitar interplay from about 1:45-2:27 is really reminiscent of the guitar work from Side With the Seeds that starts about 1:30.

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I never do these, but...why not?


1. Summerteeth - Then again, some aren't. The masterpiece in my mind. Always in Love, to me, is their best song ever.

2. YHF - Similarly 'masterpiece-ish' but just in an area i don't love as much as harmonies-soaked ST.

3. BT - Just the potential and excitement oozing around this makes it a joy to listen to. THIS is the most 'fun' Wilco ever had, in my mind, on album. Had to go to a double album and was willing to take a cut in roylaties cuz they thought so highly of it? And I agree.

4. AGIB - Love the 'plastic ono band' reference earlier in this thread.

5. W(TA) - Though the metaphor doesn't work exactly, I think W(TA) is Wings. Very much just there. I can enjoy listening to it but there's no "oh man, I can't wait for THIS part" parts.

6. AM - Beats out SBS only as a historical document. I bought this after listening to ST/BT/Mermaid Ave back around 1999/2000, listened once or twice, that was enough.

7. SBS - Has some incredibly cringe-worthy songs (Hate it Here, Shake it Off in particular), only manages to be on this list at all because of Impossible Germany.


MA1 would go just after BT, MA2 after AGIB, if we're counting those.

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Ok, I started this thread and I've read all the replies and a couple thoughts.


1. Maybe this is the equivalent of ranking your favorite child as someone suggested. It is largely impossible and most likely not a good idea.


2. Still shocked by continued lack of love for SBS and AM. People stating that SBS has "cringe worthy moments". I just don't get that at all. I don't think Tweedy has ever wrote a lyric that truly makes me embarrassed for him. "Walken" is an awesome song that could have fit on AM, which I guess is the problem for some here.


3. I think we can all agree that BT was Wilco at its most playful and fun. AGIB being the oppositte.


4. I believe W(TA) will be known as the most accessible Wilco, but likely not anything more than that.


5. Lists are fun till they become not fun

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Guest Speed Racer

It is largely impossible and most likely not a good idea.


Discussions about Wilco are always good on a Wilco message board.


I don't think Tweedy has ever wrote a lyric that truly makes me embarrassed for him.


Well you should be.


3. I think we can all agree that BT was Wilco at its most playful and fun.


I think those words best describe W(TA), honestly. BT was loose, impulsive and wildly creative, to me. Also fun and playful, but neither would be the first two adjectives I'd use to describe BT.


4. I believe W(TA) will be known as the most accessible Wilco, but likely not anything more than that.


See above.

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I am amazed at the amount of people that rank WTA above SBS????? I like the new album very much, but I wonder if the folks that rank SBS so low have heard these songs live. I just caught the Wolf Trap show in VA last week and Hate It Here was one of the best songs of the night. Opinions are opinions and VC Nation has plenty of them to around, but how can you dismiss songs like Hate It Here, Leave Me How You Found Me, Walken, SBS, and Either Way as overly simplistic, and yet go bonkers for You and I???? anyyyywayyyyy here is my list :)


1. YHF


3. BT

4. SBS

5. ST

6. WTA

7. AM


Leave Me Like You Found Me.....woooops

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