Sky Blue Sky – Wilco

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It’s frightening, really. Over the past two years, the majority of our giant creative outlets – Bjork, Beck, The Flaming Lips, and now Wilco – have put out albums that don’t set the bar high for ingenuity and innovation. Although Sky Blue Sky is not a bad record by any stretch of the imagination, it does leaves you unfulfilled. It’s like going to a wise peer to whom we look for advice and being told something we’ve already heard. It’s not bad advice, just misdirected. Grateful Dead references aside, the record explores the lengthy territory of their live show in the studio with tracks like “On and On and On” and “Impossible Germany” . It’s a sure bet that these tracks are going to rip live, but in the studio they lose a bit of their flare. “What Light” explores Dylan’s vocal phrasing, and if anyone can pull that off without sounding cliché, Tweedy can. As for the addition of Nels Cline since’ A Ghost is Born, it’s a true stroke of luck for Wilco. He is one of the most humble, understanding lead guitarists playing music today, and he knows when to hold back in the studio, and when to go off on a tangent live. Ultimately, this isn’t the record Wilco fans were looking for. The creativity from a musically sonic standpoint may not be what’s highlighted throughout Sky Blue Sky, but the band sounds so musically tight and confident that you can’t help but grow attached to these songs – the same way you grow attached to all of Wilco’s previous records. – JB