Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sky Blue Sky

From time to time I will search through my library and post on a personal favorite. Today I will be discussing on of my all time favorite albums Sky Blue Sky by my favorite band Wilco.

Sky Blue Sky is Wilco's 6th studio album and arguably one of their best. Released May 15th, 2007, it sold 87,000 copies in it's first week making it Wilco's best selling record. Recorded at their Loft in Downtown Chicago, this was the first album with Multi-Instrumentalists Nels Cline as a full time member and Pat Sansone. It received mostly positive reviews except from sources such as Pitchfork Media, criticizing it's "dad-sound." 

The band wanted to create a much more mellow sound, therefore took a more relaxed approach to the recording process compared to their previous album, A Ghost is Born. Tweedy took inspiration from bands such as The Byrds and Fairport Convention and looked to make a sound similar to The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and The Beatles. 

The album starts off with the mellow Either Way and a great guitar to begin the record. The song has a little bit of a folky start but gets a bit experimental with a crisp guitar solo towards the middle. The next song, You Are My Face, is a nice picture and features more of Jeff Tweddy's poetic lyricism. In the middle of the song, there is a great solo featuring a very cool raspy guitar played by Nels Cline. Tweedy's vocals become stronger and have more emotion at this point and thus the song becomes more powerful. The next song is my favorite on the album, the jazzy, Impossible Germany. This song utilizes both Tweedy's beautiful lyrics and Nels Cline's awesome guitar abilities. It ends with one of the best guitar solos on any Wilco song. Next is the title track Sky Blue Sky, a country song that would sound a little more appropriate on their second album, Being There, but is still a good song. After that is Side with the Seeds, a bluesy song with Tweedy belting out his vocals against a cool guitar part. The middle of the song gets a little hectic but will be enjoyed by any Wilco fan. Next is the funk influenced Shake it Off with a great bass line by Jon Stirrait. Then is the very deep and emotional love song Please Be Patient With Me, which is done entirely solo by Jeff Tweedy. The next track is the blues song, Hate It Here, a great ballad to a missing woman. The song has great guitar parts interspersed throughout and of course fantastic belting vocals. The next song, Leave me (Like You Found Me), is a bit plain and would also easily fit into Being There but is still a good song. Then there is Walken, one of the better tracks on the album with a very fun slide guitar by Nels Cline and some great guitar playing by Jeff (the song may sound familiar from the Volkswagen commercial). Then the album's single, What Light, which is a country song about being your own person, a nice moral to come away with. It is a good song and reminiscent of the Mermaid Avenue collaborations with Billy Bragg. The final song on the album On and On and On is the weakest song in the collection with very mediocre and shallow lyrics, possibly written by Tweedy's sons Spencer (13) and Sam (10).

This album gets a 4/5 stars. It is a near masterpiece and comes together in a very strong way and is the bands most mature work to date. They have announced an album coming out some time this spring so keep your eyes out for that. This is an album every collection should have so if you don't already own it, go out and buy it now.

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