"Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" is Wilco's finest album; quite possibly the decade's greatest album as well. The only way to put it is that YHF is the perfect blend of pop and sonic experimentation. Although this album is by no stretch of the imagination driven by pop hooks, Tweedy's clever melodies ring through clearly and stay in your head for days.
This album is extremely emotional, despite the nearly nonsensical crypticism of the lyrics. Even though "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" seems to be Joyceian gibberish ("Disposable Dixie cup-drinker...I assassin down the avenue..."), some of the other songs are much more immediately affecting, like "Radio Cure" ("Cheer up...honey I hope you can...there is something wrong with me..." gently spoken over a single piano note and quietly pulsating bass and drums) and the nearly radio-friendly "Heavy Metal Drummer", which has Tweedy reminiscing about playing in bands as a kid.
The legal struggles of this album are well known. If you haven't seen it already, the film "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" is a great companion piece to the album, as it documents the band's internal and external struggles in recording and releasing the album.
Ignoring all of the critical hoopla, however, there are the songs, which are some of the finest Tweedy has ever written. "Poor Places" is the album's standout track, ending in complete static and feedback over which a European woman's voice is heard repeating "Yankee......hotel......foxtrot.....Yankee.....hotel....foxtrot..." until the song dissolves into the closing number.
I cannot express the thanks I gave to Jeff Tweedy for being the creator of the most poetic rock album I've ever heard.