Original Release - 1994
"I remember, on "Passenger Side", I was so unsure of the chord changes at the time we recorded it, I put a phase shifter on the guitar, to try and mask my fumbling for the right chords. Played it one time like that, and it was done. That's how the whole deal went down, before I could learn a song properly, it was considered finished. This is not the stuff great bands are made of, is it?
-Brian Henneman, liner notes from "A.M."
I understand the apprehension Brian must have felt in the studio with Wilco in 1994, after all with the recent split of alt-country heros Uncle Tupelo, the alternative and independent music community was forced to choose sides, Wilco or Son Volt. But what Brian didn't know at the time, is that fifteen years later, "A.M." would be considered a classic alt-country album, and the beginning of some of the most vast sonic experimentation one band has ever created in the studio.
"A.M." begins with "I Must Be High", "Casino Queen" and a lyrical favorite of mine "Box Full of Letters" where Jeff Tweedy sings "I got a lot of your records/in a separate stack/some things that I might like to hear, but I guess I'll give 'em back". The thing that makes this music so effective, is the fact that its so simple. It does not try to re-invent the wheel, its just great alt-country with lyrics that are distinctly American.
This album features some of Jeff Tweedy's most personal lyrics, the majority of them focusing on relationships, like in "Thats Not The Issue": "I've been thinking/about leaving too/that's not the issue/I'm leaving/I'm leaving now/I'd say goodbye/but I don't know how". This album comes to a close with the excellent "Too Far Apart", which is the best song on the second side.
This is the album that started it all, if you were to begin with a later release like "A Ghost Is Born" or "Wilco (The Album)" you might not recognize them, and thats the best part. Wilco is never satisfied, they are always pushing the envelope to create in the studio, which makes them one of America's greatest treasures. Dig in and enjoy.
This 180 Gram Vinyl Reissue is pressed on High Performance black vinyl, which arrived flat and with little surface noise. Wilco is a band that begs to be listed to on vinyl, and you will be rewarded for the effort. A great way to buy this album, because it comes with a CD of the complete album on the inside.
Album - A
Vinyl - A-