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Sky Blue Sky
Artist: Wilco
URL: www.wilcoworld.net
Label: Nonesuch
Time: 13 Tracks 55:09

Every year, as school let’s out, I am always looking for an album that captures the way I am feeling when I’m driving around on sunny afternoons here in Northern Ohio. The weather is usually just beginning to stay warm, and the sun is showing its face almost every day. This year, Wilco’s new album Sky Blue Sky was released at the same time that college let out for the summer, and immediately I have fallen in love with this gorgeous laid back rock album. 

“Either Way” opens the album with a smooth, relaxed acoustic guitar based three-minute tune. However, as the song nears its close, Tweedy and the gang kick into their first guitar solo of the album, that while brief, sets the tone for what becomes an album filled with guitar solos and other musical goodness!

“Impossible Germany” is certainly going to become another one of Wilco’s guitar drenched masterpieces. It features two guitars kicking out blistering guitar solos back and forth for an extended section at the very end of the song. It is impressive to say the very least and I can imagine it will be a highlight of their upcoming live shows. 

The title track is a wonderful soft rock song. It kind of reminds me a little of Starflyer 59 on their Leave Here a Stranger and The Fashion Focus albums. 

“Side With the Seeds” features some more great guitar work. This song features a wonderful mix of guitar distortion and violin string backing. 

“Shake It Off” rides blues guitar sounds, as do several of the offerings on this project. Jeff Tweedy has always found ways to blend musical influences, and on songs like these, it is easy to really appreciate just how good he is at doing this. This song arcs back and forth between being noise filled and being quiet, making for a very interesting listen. You will find yourself coming back to this song often. 

“Please Be Patient With Me” is a gorgeous folk love song. It’s about a man struggling with depression and telling the person he loves that he needs her patience:

How can I warn you when my tongue turns to dust
Like we’ve discussed
It doesn’t mean that I don’t care
It means I’m partially there

You’re gonna need to be patient with me

“Hate It Here” follows the thoughts of a man who has just endured a hard breakup, with down to earth ramblings about feeling lost and directionless:
What am I gonna do when I run out of shirts to fold?
What am I gonna do when I run out of lawn to mow?
What am I gonna do if you never come home?
Tell me, what am I gonna do?
“What Light” is the song that is being promoted as the single right now, and it is a good example of the country/roots style that we have seen from some of Wilco’s past material. It rides a very catchy acoustic rhythm guitar base backed up by plenty of slide guitar in the background. This song calls to mind Neil Young in a big way, and that isn’t a bad thing either!

“On and On an On” may be one of the best lyrical moments for Tweedy in years. It is a gorgeous pledge of committed love and comfort to one special woman. The piano base for this song is perfect, and the background organ, guitar and drums, when they kick in, do so in a timely fashion! 

For those of us who bought the album on iTunes, a special bonus track entitled “Let’s Not Get Carried Away” is included. This song finds Tweedy and company coming the closest to grunge that they’ve ever been. The guitar work is mixed so that it is up front and raw, and Tweedy adopts a growl in his voice that shows how versatile a vocalist he is! 

This is another fine effort for Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates. My only drawback to this project is that they didn’t include a long drawn out rock and roll song on this album like they did on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born. There isn’t a song here that even breaks the six-minute mark, which is a shame because this is one of the most talented group of musicians making music today! Other than that, this is one of the more enjoyable releases so far this year!
 

James Morovich
5/29/07


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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