After their wild experimental streak of the past decade, Wilco's sixth studio album might feel like a bit of a comedown. Sky Blue Sky
is mellow, moody, and uncharacteristically monotone, opening with a pleasant jangle and Jeff Tweedy singing a simple song: "Maybe the sun will shine today, the clouds will blow away." He doesn't even follow it up with a barbed punchline. Could it be that the restless Chicago band has settled back into its gentle Americana roots--or does this sudden mid-career reappraisal represent Wilco's gutsiest move yet? Mostly written in the studio by the full band, it's certainly the group's most cohesive album in ages, presenting a dense song cycle padded with intricate guitar work, brushed rhythms, and '70s soft-rock accents. In places it sounds like Wings ("Hate It Here"), in others Harry Nilsson ("Walken"), and in the middle it goes a bit Grateful Dead ("Shake It Off"). At the same time, there's a distinct sense of hearing a band finally at ease in its own skin. Sky Blue Sky
represents the sound of Wilco finally pulling through its petulant adolescence. --Aidin Vaziri
2007 European tour edition includes a bonus disc with five non-album tracks, 'The Thanks I Get', 'Let's Not Get Carried Away', 'One True Vine', 'Impossible Germany' [Live] and 'Hate It Here' [Live]. Simple and soothing, yet rich and rewarding, this is an album you unknowingly yearn for, like a cool hand on a hot forehead. A great album from a band in their prime Sky Blue Sky is as eloquently straightforward as Wilco's last studio recording, the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born, was daringly experimental. Tweedy's lyrics deal forthrightly with romantic separation and reconciliation, their bittersweet quality giving way, as the album progresses, to a more uplifting, redemptive mood. Warner.