It’s easy to forget, now that Wilco finishes all of its tours in Chicago and plays repeat appearances in the Windy City and has a recording loft there and puts the Marina City towers on the cover of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, that the band was not originally a Chicago group. Wilco was an offshoot of Uncle Tupelo, which was a downstate Illinois band. And anyone who has ever been in downstate Illinois can tell you St. Louis has as much draw as Chicago.
Hence “Casino Queen” from Wilco’s first album post-Tupelo, an ode to a semi-shitty riverboat casino in St. Louis that probably wasn’t as shitty back when they made this record. There’s nothing particularly special about it musically, but there is also no doubt it rocks your socks off, so much so that the band frequently includes is in set lists now — nearly 20 years after its creation — and clearly enjoys playing it. The lyric “I always bet on black/blackjack/I’ll pay you back” clearly shows Jeff Tweedy knows nothing about how blackjack is actually played and/or believes roulette to be “blackjack” because there’s a square on the board for betting black. In related news, Tweedy is apparently really bad at gambling.
Nothing fancy. Just a straight-ahead rocker from a band that makes remarkably few of them anymore, and a good one at that. It’s enough to make “Casino Queen” the third-highest rated song from A.M. on this list.