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I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Yesterday, I drove over to Chapel Hill to visit my brother and to see the movie I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.  The movie is a rockumentary about the making of Wilco's recent and critically acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (YHF) album. My nutshell review is simple: if you like Wilco you'll love it, if you don't then you might want to skip it. I loved it.

Whether or not you like Wilco, the YHF story is pretty interesting.  Wilco's record label, Warner Brothers Reprise, gave the band the freedom to make the album on their own, working in their loft, and without a producer.  Once Wilco was done with the album, the record company decided that the album was not marketable or radio friendly or whatever.  The company dropped Wilco and let the band walk away with rights to the album.  Eventually, Nonesuch Records took interest and signed Wilco. Like Warner Brothers Reprise, Nonesuch is owned by AOL Time Warner. So in the end AOL Time Warner paid for the same record twice.  

The story of record company stupidity was covered in the movie, but the movie seemed to gloss over the file sharing story.  YHF was available in MP3 format on the Wilco website for over six months before the album went on sale, but despite this and much to the surpise of the music industry middlemen the album debuted at #13 on the Billboard album charts.

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