I like records that let you know they mean business right away - and A.M. definitely does that. From the minute you put it on, it's like you've discovered a favorite record you've had buried for years in the back of your closet - all the tunes are catchy, all the words make a quirky kind of sense, and it's just plain great to listen to.
I love this record, not only because of the infectious quality of the music, but the lyrics are so great you'll be humming them to yourself later, eager to hear them again. Shouldn't Be Ashamed, Box Full of Letters, and I Must Be High are all really great, but my favorite is Passenger Side - a plaintive paean to losing your license and having to be carted around (I've got a court date coming this June/ I'll be driving soon/ Passenger side/ I don't like riding on the passenger side.") The songs are deceptive in their simplicity, played by a band that can really play their instruments well. Jeff Tweedy's voice may take some people a while to get used to, but he's got a great, vulnerable quality and he can really write a great song.
I gave it four stars because Summerteeth is supposed to be their best album, and the last song kind of lets the album taper off. But if you like REM (even as late as Out Of Time) you'll really like Wilco, and A.M. is a great record to get to know your new favorite band.