Tomorrow brings the official release of Wilco’s sixth album, Sky Blue Sky. Those of you who have been on the site more than once, or look at my header image, may know that Wilco is my favorite band, and that I have been waiting for this release for a long time. I’ve been listening to Sky Blue Sky for quite a while now, and like many others, have mixed feelings about it. I, however, mostly enjoy it, and it continues to grow on me. The album is definitely a throwback to the 70’s, which was what the band was shooting for. When asked in a recent Pitchfork interview about sounding like a classic album, Tweedy said, “I’m really pretty happy with the way the record sounds. I think it’s really hard with today’s equipment to get things to really sound as warm as that period of recordings. I think we got closer than I felt we’ve ever been before.”
For some fans, this is their favorite Wilco album to date. But for many others, Wilco went an unexpected route, going “easy listening” instead of the rock/pop experienced on albums like Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Many fans built up this release in their heads, and came out feeling disappointed. I appreciate Sky Blue Sky, and instead of focusing on what the album is not, I try to value it for what it is. I mean, if I had the opportunity to create my dream album, I would probably reference Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, maybe with a little less noise at the end of some of the songs, and then possibly throw in some of the lushness of other albums like Being There‘s “Sunken Treasure”, much of Summerteeth, and songs such as “Muzzle of Bees,” “Company In My Back,” and “The Theologians,” on Ghost Is Born. But more realistically, I would just tell Jeff to make an album that feels right to him, which is exactly what he did with Sky Blue Sky.
Sky Blue Sky is where Jeff and the rest of the band are at this time, and I can totally appreciate that. Songs such as “You are My Face”, “What Light”, “Shake it Off,” “Impossible Germany,” and “Either Way,” to name a few, are really quite good, and I believe this album will grow on critics as time goes on–in the same way some had to “break in” some of Wilco’s previous albums. I also do NOT believe that Jeff’s rock/pop days are over, and if Wilco does it right, their next album is going to be even more gratifying after this release–we’ll have to wait and see. For right now, though, we have Sky Blue Sky, and should soak it up. His band is remarkably talented, and Nels Cline’s presence on the recording had a big influence. Also, all the band members were more involved in the development of the music and lyrics than on previous albums. One thing’s for certain, Wilco is heading toward mainstream fame. I’m seeing their name headlining many sites, and I just tried helping my sister get tickets to a New York show, and tickets literally sold out in less than a minute. They had to add on a second show, which sold out quickly, too. Please let me know your thoughts on this album. Love it? Hate it? This is a big release, and I would really love to hear your opinion.
Preview album in entirety HERE.
Sky Blue Sky: