Songs of the Decade : Wilco "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" (2002)

I suppose it's pretty rare that songs play a part in a monumental change in your life. I can think of a handful that have truly changed something inside of me for good. Most likely, that shift is the result of some life happening that ties into that song: lost love, death, birth, falling in love, viewing something in nature, etc. Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" is one of those songs. I got my hands on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, from what I remember, a few months before 9/11. I was absolutely floored. It took me weeks to get even a little understanding of the complexity of the album, but it was the lead track that had my jaw on the ground. Opening with fuzz, distortion, bells, buzzes, clocks and pianos, the song felt like a soul-altering listen. And then came the acoustic strum and the erratic drums. And then, "I am an aquarium drinker, I assassin down the avenue, I'm hiding out in the big city blinking, what was I thinking when I let go of you" followed by organs, cascading guitars, tight drum fills, slaps and a near explosion of words and sound.

And then came September 11, 2001. And this record was a musical version of the chaos that I witnessed for one day beginning on the F train around 9am.