Sky Blue Skyby Wilco
In 1999, Wilco willingly abdicated their position as one of the leading acts in the alt-country movement to dive head-first into the challenging waters of experimental pop with their album Summerteeth, and moved even further away from their rootsy origins with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, winning the group a new and enthusiastic audience along the way. So it might amuse a number of the band's earlier fans that in many respects Wilco's sixth studio album, Sky Blue Sky, sounds like the long-awaited follow-up to 1996's Being There -- while it lacks the ramshackle shape-shifting and broad twang of that earlier album, Sky Blue Sky represents a shift back to an organic sound and approach that suggests the influence of Neil Young's Harvest and the more polished avenues of '70s soft rock. Sky Blue Sky also marks Wilco's first studio recordings since Nels Cline and Pat Sansone joined the group, and they certainly make their presence felt -- with Cline, Wilco has its strongest guitarist to date, and while his interplay with Sansone on numbers like "Impossible Germany" and "Walken" lacks the skronky muscle of his more avant-garde work of the past, it's never less than inspired and he works real wonders with Jeff Tweedy's lovely melodies. Sansone's keyboard work also shines, adding soulful accents to "Side with the Seeds" and Mellotron on "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)," as does Mikael Jorgensen's piano and organ, and overall this is Wilco's strongest album as an ensemble to date. Tweedy's vocals boast a clarity and nuance that reveals he's grown in confidence and skill as a singer, and the songs recall Summerteeth's beautiful but unsettling mix of lovely tunes and lyrics that focus on troubled souls and crumbling relationships. Between the pensive "Be Patient with Me," the lovelorn "Hate It Here," and "On and On and On"'s pledge that "we'll stay together" squared off against the resignation of "Please don't cry/We're designed to die," Sky Blue Sky isn't afraid to go to the dark places, but Tweedy and his bandmates also find plenty of beauty, inspiration, and real joy along the way, and the album's open, natural sound is an ideal match for the material. Sky Blue Sky may find Wilco dipping their toes into roots rock again, but this doesn't feel like a step back so much as another fresh path for one of America's most consistently interesting bands.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsWilco Primary Artist
Nels Cline Electric Guitar,Loops,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (12 String Electric)
Jim O'Rourke Acoustic Guitar,Percussion
John Stirratt Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals,8-string Bass
Jeff Tweedy Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Glenn Kotche Percussion,Drums,Glockenspiel
Pat Sansone Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Electric Guitar,Harpsichord,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Background Vocals,Mellotron,chamberlain,Wurlitzer
Karen Waltuch Violin,Viola
Technical CreditsNels Cline Composer
Jim O'Rourke String Arrangements,Feedback
Jeff Tweedy Composer,Graphic Design
Lawrence Azerrad Graphic Design
TJ Doherty Engineer
Nathaniel Murphy Illustrations
Manuel Presti Cover Photo
Mikael Jorgensen Composer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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If you were to try and compare Wilco's Sky Blue Sky with their previous album; A Ghost is Born, you would need an apple and an orange. Wilco ditches the experimental effects and goes for a more performance based effort on this album. I truly love this album. The strongest songs are some of the finest and most enjoyable music in their entire catalogue: Impossible Germany, Sky Blue Sky, Hate It Here, Walken. However, a few songs tend to be a little dull for my taste: see Side With the Seeds. But don't let that sway you from listening to one of Wilco's strongest albums! Pick it up, and keep supporting one of the most interesting and creative bands of this generation.
The thing I have against 'Blue Sky Blue' is that in my mind it sounds very much like the album I imagine the record producers were expected to get when Wilco gave them,'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot' instead.It is a step backwards.There is not one song nearly as good as ',Jesus,etc." or 'I am Trying To Break Your Heart'.Even the Title sucks compared to the line,"Bible Black Pre-dawn'.I am not saying I wish Jeff was a stoner again,but,at least his music was brave and honest back then.This sounds like corporate greed sell out.I was sick of the Allman Brothers and the Eagles twenty years ago...why would I want to listen to cheap imations of them today.Here is another idea...actually sing about something.Foxtrot was poetry..this is gooblygook..and you know there is a difference.What about 'trains'?I love songs about trains.
Wow. Song-snippers and filesharers take a step back. You have no power here. This CD is meant to be played start to finish. The rewards come with each repetition. Like "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Sargeant Pepper's". I've been playing it for a month and it's still getting better. I'm buying (yes, buying) the CD for a friend who I usually make mix-CDs for. I don't have it in me to separate these songs from each other... and Wilco deserves the returns on this one. I just can't describe it. Don't be fooled by the surface pop... these songs are crafted with lyrical and instrumental depth. Few albums in the past 25 years are this good: It's up there with "Automatic for the People", Petty's "Wildflowers" and Clash's "London Calling". Enjoy!
Relaxed and sweet, different from their recent work, but I can't help listening to it too much.
Since Wilco is my favorite band, I eagerly waited for Sky Blue Sky. I'm not sure what I was expecting, perhaps an extension of the experimental abstractness of Yankee Hotel and Ghost is Born, and at first I wasn't sure what to think after listening to it the first time. But as with many of their songs, the subtleness of the arrangements, poetry of the lyrics, and the way in which each song seems to build to an unexpected instrumental jam segment, this album grew on me the more I listened to it. The guitar work on Impossible Germany is as good as it gets, and in every other song I've been finding things to appreciate that I had previously overlooked. A friend was listening to 30-60 seconds of each cut and was indifferent to it at first. A week or so later he called to say he had really underestimated it and thought it was as good as anything they had done. I agree. Tweedy rules.
great CD! thoughtful lyrics, catchy hooks, impeccable guitar work - what more can you ask for?! the addition of Nels Cline was genius!
70's rock never sounded so genuine from a band not of the 70's. For those folks expecting Yankee Hotel Foxtrot II, that's a really small way of thinking and misses the whole point of Wilco -- which is not to be an alt-country Radiohead.