Top Ten Albums of the Decade: 10

I finally decided to cave and peruse my music library in hopes of narrowing it down to the TOP 10 albums of the aughts.  Now keep in mind, my music library is by no means the library of congress, but it is pretty extensive with over 10000+ songs.  I figured the most democratic way to determine what would make it onto my list would be to determine criteria by which each album would be judged.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • The album obviously must be released from January 1st 2000 – December 31st 2009
  • The album must be either a breakthrough album, reinvention, or opus of a record
  • The album does not necessarily have gone platinum or even gold for that matter (tweens might be thinking, what is platinum? Well your too young to remember when people paid for music)
  • The album must be one that I own
  • Doesn’t have to have changed the face of music, but it helps

Keep in mind, these are what I consider to be the best records of the 2000s.  I am not looking at the music through a magnifying glass.  You shouldn’t need a degree in Music Theory or History in order to appreciate these albums.  These albums are ones that I listen to again and again, because they are that good. Each day I will be introducing a new album working my way until I hit numero uno.  So today let’s begin with number 10

10.

We begin at number 10, with an album that sums up all that is wrong with the record industry.  Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was recorded during the latter part of 2000 and early 2001 under Reprise Records (a Warner Music Group subsidiary).

In 2001, AOL merged with Time Warner to form AOL Time Warner. Time Warner’s market share of the music industry had dropped by almost five percent from the mid-1990s, and the new executives ordered the termination of six hundred jobs. One of those jobs was Reprise Records president Howie Klein, who had been a big supporter of Wilco on the label. Klein’s dismissal caused head A&R representative David Kahne to be in charge of deciding whether to release Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Kahne assigned A&R representative Mio Vukovic to monitor the progress of the album. Vukovic was unhappy about the album because he felt that his suggestions were not being considered. Kahne wanted a radio single from the album, but he felt that none of the songs were suitable for commercial release. In June 2001, the album was officially rejected and Vukovic suggested that the band independently release the album.

Josh Grier, Wilco’s lawyer, was able to negotiate a buy-out of the band from Reprise. The band would keep the rights to the album if they paid Reprise $50,000. Before Wilco could accept the deal, Reprise called the band and changed their offer to give the band the rights to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for free. 

Wilco had planned on releasing Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on September 11, 2001, but Tweedy did not want a change in record labels to significantly delay the release of the album. Within weeks of being released from the label and Jay Bennett leaving the band, MP3s of all tracks from the album began to appear on file sharing networks. In a decision aimed at discouraging the pirating of lower quality MP3s and having some control over how the album was distributed, on September 18, 2001, Wilco began streaming the entirety of the album on their official website. The wilcoworld.net website registered over fifty thousand hits that day, eight times as much as typical daily traffic. Traffic to the website quadrupled the normal traffic over the next few months. The following tour was a success financially, and members of Wilco observed that fans sang along with unreleased songs on the album.

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was commercially released by Nonesuch Records on April 23, 2002. Since, Nonesuch Records was also under the umbrella of AOL Time Warner, AOL Time Warner incidentally paid twice for the same record to be made.  Considering that the record industry is a sinking ship, this seems to be some of the dumbest business strategies the music industry has ever seen.  Lucky for AOL Time Warner, the album sold 55,573 copies during its first week of release, peaking on the Billboard 100 album chart at number thirteen. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA and has sold over 590,000 units.  Oh yeah, and the music isn’t bad either.

Track Listing:

All lyrics by Jeff Tweedy. Music written by Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett except where noted.

  1. “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” (Tweedy)
  2. “Kamera” – 3:29
  3. “Radio Cure” – 5:08
  4. “War on War” – 3:47
  5. “Jesus, Etc.” – 3:50
  6. “Ashes of American Flags” – 4:43
  7. “Heavy Metal Drummer” (Tweedy) – 3:08
  8. “I’m the Man Who Loves You” – 3:55
  9. “Pot Kettle Black” – 4:00
  10. “Poor Places” – 5:15
  11. “Reservations” (Tweedy) – 7:22
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~ by jmstone87 on November 24, 2009.

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