War On War

Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • "War On War" is about the need to experience (and consequently accept) failure, if you wish to live life to the full, as reflected in the lyric: "You have to learn how to die, if you want to want to be alive." Wilco's frontman and chief songwriter, Jeff Tweedy, told Crud Magazine: "I think somehow you need to get to a certain point in your life where the notion of failure is absurd."
  • The song is an upbeat, acoustic-lead number, the rapid and sprightly strums of which reflect the subtle optimism of the lyrics.
  • "War on War" appears on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot - the album infamously rejected by Reprise Records in June 2001, which led to Wilco leaving the label. The band then streamed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot for free over their official website, before signing with Nonesuch Records, who officially released the album on April 23, 2002.
  • The debacle surrounding Yankee Hotel Foxtrot's release relates to this song's lyrics. Wilco managed to fight through the preliminary failure that was the Reprise rejection in order to sign with Nonesuch Records, who released Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to universal appraise. The album has since gone on to become Wilco's most popular release to date.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Have Mercy! It's Wolfman JackSong Writing

The story of the legendary lupine DJ through the songs he inspired.

Band NamesFact or Fiction

Was "Pearl" Eddie Vedder's grandmother, and did she really make a hallucinogenic jam? Did Journey have a contest to name the group? And what does KISS stand for anyway?