Wilco: Sky Blue Sky


“Maybe the sun will shine today, the clouds will blow away,” sings a hopeful Jeff Tweedy on “Either Way,” which confidently opens Wilco’s newest offering, Sky Blue Sky.  It’s a direct songwriting approach from Tweedy, who has in the past started a Wilco album in discord; blurting out confusing lines (“I am an American aquariam drinker”) on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, negative and passionately pissed on Summerteeth’s “I Can’t Stand It,” bipolar on Being There’s “Misunderstood” and A Ghost is Born’s “At Least That’s What You Said.”  All are great songs, but it’s here on Sky Blue Sky where the Belleville, Illinois native becomes in tune with himself: he’s no longer trying to break any hearts—he’s got his own to protect and care for, either way the cards may fall.

The music is the centerpiece for the dozen songs on Sky Blue Sky, which plays like a riveting revelation for Wilco, now rid of the curious studio sounds that have carried some of their best albums (and delightfully so).  There are guitars everywhere (courtesy of Nels Cline) on this album, from the electric fury of “Impossible Germany,” to the building energy of “Shake It Off” and “You Are My Face,” pleasantly pacing alongside the delicate sincerity of “Please Be Patient With Me” and the haunting closer, “On and On and On”. It was 11 years ago when Jeff Tweedy told us that he got his name from rock and roll.  Now we can finally believe him.

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