Not really a post perse, but I just wanted to point out that both Wilco’s ‘Sky Blue Sky’ and Michael Chabon’s ’The Yiddish Policeman’s Union‘ hit the shelves earlier this month, and both of them should be on your required listen/read list.
(note: This was originally going to be a dual post, but I got a bit verbose on the subjects of Wilco and Michael Chabon, so we’ll break this up into two parts. First up: Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky. )
Wilco is easily among my top 5 favorite bands, so any release from Tweedy & crew is a welcome one. Sky Blue Sky loses some of the more ethereal and proggy elements of A Ghost is Born and finds the band moving both backwards and forwards into a very 70s feeling rock record that evokes the spirit of both Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. This is pretty much the album I’ve been waiting for from Wilco and while they’ll never return to the style of my much beloved Summerteeth (which had oodles to do with Jay Bennet’s contributions), Sky Blue Sky brings Jeff Tweedy back to the physical world he seemed to be trying to leave behind with A Ghost is Born (with all its entanglements and disappointments) while still letting him play out in the atmosphere now and again. Indeed, the fantastic 6 minute long ‘Impossible Germany’ wanders off into late 70’s rock jam territory two minutes and thirty seconds in and never looks back, but for once I can honestly say I’m happy about that.
From the very first track (the excellent ‘Either Way’ ), Tweedy lays his heart and his failings out more plainly than he’s done in the past, repeatedly returning to the theme of a broken (but not quite lost) relationship. In the ex-record store nerd shorthand, I’d say Sky Blue Sky is easily his hopeful version of Beck’s ’Sea Change‘ (or a markedly less bitter ’Blood on the Tracks‘ ). Like all great break up albums (most notably Marvin Gaye’s ‘Here, My Dear’ ) Tweedy isn’t shy about shouldering the blame, and there are times when the album becomes so confessional that it’s tough to spend that much time in Tweedy’s troubled skin. Thankfully, his lyrics are wrapped in such amazing music that the weight of his failings (real or imagined) is never too much to take.
You can watch a great clip of the band running through ’Side with the Seeds‘ by clicking on that link. But seriously: Buy this damn album.