Wilco
Sky Blue Sky


4.0
excellent

Review

by JAD USER (11 Reviews)
May 24th, 2007 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tweedy returns to his Americana roots and Wilco mature as a band. No, there's no noise, but its still a wonderful record.

As the New York Times review of this album asked, “where did all the strange noises go?” This has been a question that’s been on the tips of every critic and Wilco fan’s tongue as Sky Blue Sky was recorded, and now released. Having spent several years as the champion of alt. Country, Jeff Tweedy began a change in style with ‘99’s Summerteeth that rapidly turned into a right turn on ‘02’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, a sprawling, flawless, art rock record that made joyful use of feedback and noise. ‘04’s A Ghost is Born followed a similar format, with even lengthier pieces and extended guitar freakouts. But now, gone are Tweedy’s days of cryptic lyrics and jarring noise. Gone, too, are several bandmates and his addiction to prescription painkillers. It was probably these changes that prompted Tweedy to take a meandering trip back to his Americana roots and write, with some significant help from his excellent new lineup, some simple, down to earth music.

Much has been made of Wilco’s new lineup, Tweedy, drummer Glen Kotche, and bassist John Stirrat (the only other members besides Tweedy to have been with the group for longer than two albums) have all made a multitude of statements concerning how this is the final and definitive Wilco lineup. Joining the three, as well as pianist Mikeal Jorgenson, are keyboardist/guitarist Pat Sansone, and acclaimed free jazz guitarist Nels Cline. Cline’s presence in the group seems like it should make them even nosier (he is, after all, a man who re-imagined John Coltrane’s Interstellar Space as an even noisier piece of music) and, for a while, he did, as documented on their magnificent live album Kicking Television Here, however, he manages to find a perfect balance between technical brilliance and laid back groove. And Sansone’s keyboards lock perfectly with Jorgenson’s and as does his guitar with Tweedy and Cline.

As for the actual songs, they are, for the most part, breezy and surprisingly content. Even when he’s curtailing domestic strife on “Hate It Here”, Tweedy does so with warmth and humor as the band build up to a stomping chorus. Similarly, the jaunty piano rocker “Walken” helps prove that the band finally have some surefire live staples. Elsewhere, the record is breezy, as on the cup-is-half-full opener “Either Way”, the beautiful title track, or the folksy “Please Be Patient With Me”. Most importantly, the band manage to hold off cliché’s and stay original. Ever wonder what Television would sound like mixed with Steely Dan? Look no further than the heady guitar jam “Impossible Germany” wherein Tweedy and Sansone mix nimble harmonies with a monstrous solo from Cline. The stunning closer “On and On and On” also donates that this is 2007, and Wilco have plenty of fresh ideas.

Much has been made of the fact that this record sounds like six men sitting in a circle playing music together, and honestly there’s no more apt description for it. Most of the songs on here aren’t anything groundbreaking, but Wilco’s considerable talent manifests in subtler ways: a particularly plaintive vocal melody, the duel keyboard work that complements many of the albums songs, or just about any of Cline’s leads. And there’s no denying that this kind of music perfectly fits Tweedy’s off key, world-weary voice. Sure I miss the cryptic lyrics and atonal noise, but if Wilco decide to spend the rest of their career writing records like this one, I won’t mind.



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user ratings (376)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
JAD
May 24th 2007


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like Wilco. Alot.

Doppelganger
May 24th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. This album rules pretty hard. I was pleasantly surprised.

The Jungler
May 24th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was hoping someone would review this so I didn't have too. Nice job.
This is a good record, far from my favorite Wilco, but far from bad.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 24th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I hate to say it, but this was dissapointing for me at least.

Doppelganger
May 24th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I could definitely see why.

Slaapkamers
May 24th 2007


596 Comments


anyone who talks about wilco using noise is exaggerating

Two-Headed Boy
May 24th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was a tad disapointed in this, but Ghost is just so uber.
Their folk sound here is like twice as good as it is on A.M.

FriendofTheDevil70
May 24th 2007


384 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Looking forward to this album, I was impressed by A Ghost Is Born, although I wouldn't mind a change of style for this release.

Nice review btw.

tectactoe
May 25th 2007


13 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Like the album when I'm the mood for it, but some of the songs are just TOO slow for me to really get into. Unless I'm REALLY in the mood for it.

Still a good CD though. Good review.

Doppelganger
May 25th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

anyone who talks about wilco using noise is exaggerating


Spiders.This Message Edited On 05.25.07

Slaapkamers
May 25th 2007


596 Comments


OH MY GOD ONE SONG

Doppelganger
May 25th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just an example.

JAD
May 25th 2007


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ I am trying to break your heart, Ashes of american flags, poor places, spiders, Handshake Drugs, Less than you thinkThis Message Edited On 05.25.07

Slaapkamers
May 25th 2007


596 Comments


the "noise" wasn't a key part of their sound at all. most people when referring to a ghost is born seem to associate it with noise and "extended guitar freakouts" despite it musically being not all that much of a departure of their previous sound, more like a clinical combination of yankee and summerteeth with a more obvious o'rourke influence bla bla bla bla!

La Revolucion
May 25th 2007


1060 Comments


I don't even really understand why people compare Wilco with Radiohead so much. They're just sort of a regular poppy country-ish band.

Slaapkamers
May 25th 2007


596 Comments


because they're both really experimental!

La Revolucion
May 26th 2007


1060 Comments


Oh yeah I forgot about how they revolutionized use of noise in music.

robo2448
May 26th 2007


132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome album. Personally, it's my favorite album Wilco's released.

You should've mentioned What Light in the review. Best song Tweedy's ever written besides Via Chicago.

La Revolucion
May 27th 2007


1060 Comments


Eww no. What Light is the worst song on the album.

Doppelganger
May 27th 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^Agreed. Best song here is On And On And On.



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