I’ve been wondering: were the songs on Wilco’s album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot written before or after 9/11/01? If before, they are eerily prophetic. If after, then they are the subtle emotional expression that inspires me with Wilco.

Although Yankee Hotel Foxtrot wasn’t released until April 2002, the album was completed in June 2001; getting dropped by your record label is not only insulting, it’s time-consuming. But “eerily prophetic” is exactly what those lyrics are, especially “Tall buildings shake, voices escape singing sad sad songs” (on “Jesus, Etc.”), “Moving forward through flaming doors” (on “War on War”) and the very title of “Ashes of American Flags.” A week after the attack, songwriter Jeff Tweedy said, “We made a record about America, and now it feels like these personal moments are politicized in a way I couldn’t have imagined.”

(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)