Wilco has always been a band that I have never considered myself to be a fan of. I own three of their albums, but whenever I listen to their music I find myself bored. If you are new to Wilco than do not start here, I would recommend Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. A.M. is Wilco's debut and it is completely different from anything else the band has done. If you are a hardcore Wilco fan than you should get this, but if you are a casual fan than this probably isn't for you.
A.M. is a mix of blues, rock, and country. Now I hate country music, I don't know what it is but I just dispise the genre. Although A.M. contains heavy country influences this is not a country album. Twangy guitar lines, and slow paced riffs is what A.M. is all about. The music is very simple and easy to listen to, after you get passed the first three tracks A.M. is an alt-country, slow paced blues album. If you dislike country than you probably wouldn't like this although it isn't nessicarily a country album.
The instrumentation is fairly simple. Slow paced guitar riffs, blues influenced bass lines and an average rythm section. The problem is that the instruments don't do much. While this is supposed to be a simple album when you are listening to it you can't even tell when a song is over. Once you get past the first three tracks the songs seem to blend together and nothing exciting happens. Nothing really stands out, sure there are a few nice bass and guitar lines but all in all A.M. is boring and generic instrumentally.
The vocals here are once again, simple and somewhat formulaic. Jeff Tweedy's vocals are soothing, mellow, and blues or country influenced. Jeff has a really nice voice and it mixes well with the slow paced easy going nature of A.M. I guess you could say he has a typical country voice. The only thing that he does differently is that he seems more calm and instead of having a raspy, somewhat annoying voice Tweedy has a smooth and mellow vocal delivery. The vocals don't really do anything to make A.M. a better album but Tweedy passes as a good, solid vocalist.
The music presented here sounds cool, mellow and relaxed. The first half of the album is more rock influenced and upbeat. The first half seems poppy, fun and it almost sounds like regular rock music that would be played at a tailgate party. The first six songs on the album are far more fun, rock influenced, and upbeat. Now the second half of the album is when Wilco really slows things down. The songs turn into more blues and country influenced rock songs. After the sixth track things get calm, relaxed and everything is mellow. The problem is that a lot of the tracks run together and nothing stands out. I realize that this isn't supposed to be a rock album but things just sound the same and A.M. doesn't have enough spunk to make things interesting.
Overall I was extremely upset when I first listened to this album. The heavy country and blues influences are just boring and there is nothing interesting featured here. If you enjoyed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot than you won't nessicarly like this. A.M. is completely different from the bands later albums and frankly I think it is much worse. Mellow guitar riffs, bluesy bass lines and a decent vocalist. I enjoy this album on occasion but I think that the country influence is just too big. I'll admit that I am a big fan of the first four songs but after that things get boring and it seems like Wilco is recycling the same riffs in earlier songs. If you are a fan of country or blues than you should look into this, even if you are a Wilco fan and you have not heard A.M. you might not even like it because it is so different from the bands earlier albums. All in all A.M. has some awesome tracks but in the end it is a boring and dull listening expierience.