But the paradox is that while Sky Blue Sky is the smoothest sounding Wilco album, it also takes the longest to absorb and understand.
~Michael Metivier (popmatters.com)
..Wilco’s sixth studio album, Sky Blue Sky, sounds like the long-awaited follow-up to 1996’s Being There — while it lacks the ramshackle shape-shifting and broad twang of that earlier album, Sky Blue Sky represents a shift back to an organic sound and approach that suggests the influence of Neil Young’s Harvest and the more polished avenues of ’70s soft rock. Sky Blue Sky also marks Wilco’s first studio recordings since Nels Cline and Pat Sansone joined the group, and they certainly make their presence felt …
~Mark Deming (allmusic.com)
Impossible Germany (Live – from the DVD “Ashes Of American Flags”):
|Released||May 15, 2007|
|Recorded||November 2006 – January 2007 at The Wilco Loft, Irving Park, Chicago,Illinois, United States|
|Genre||Alternative rock, folk rock,alternative country|
Sky Blue Sky is the sixth studio album by American rock band Wilco, released on May 15, 2007 by Nonesuch Records. Originally announced on January 17, 2007 at a show in Nashville, Tennessee, it was the band’s first studio album with guitarist Nels Cline and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone. Before its release, the band streamed the entire album on its official website and offered a free download of “What Light”.
Sky Blue Sky was Wilco’s highest debuting album on the Billboard 200 at number four. The self-produced album received mostly favorable reviews by critics. Publications such as PopMatters and Rolling Stone praised its maturity, while PlayLouder and Pitchfork Media criticized its “dad-rock” sound. While some critics praised the direct lyrical approach, others criticised it when compared to previous Wilco albums. The band licensed six songs from the Sky Blue Sky sessions to a Volkswagen advertisement campaign, a move that generated criticism from fans and the media.
You Are My Face (Austin City Limits 2007):
The album was recorded by TJ Doherty at The Loft in Irving Park, Chicago, where Tweedy had recorded Loose Fur’s Born Again in the USA and most of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. In an interview with Billboard, the band revealed that the album would be less experimental than the two previous albums and more influenced by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones. Also, unlike the previous albums, the album was made with only minimal involvement of Jim O’Rourke; the album which was produced with very few overdubs.
Release & reception
Nonesuch released the album on May 15, 2007; the following week became Wilco’s best-ever sales week. The album debuted at number four on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 87,000 copies domestically in its first week. Sky Blue Sky was also an international success, peaking at number 7 in Norway, number 21 in Belgium, number 23 in Australia and Ireland, number 26 in Sweden, number 32 in New Zealand, number 36 in Germany, and number 39 in the United Kingdom.
The album received varied critical reception upon its release.
- Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone pondered in his review whether Wilco had ever made a song as good as “Impossible Germany,” praising how the song builds into a “twin guitar epic” in the mold of Television and Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac.
- Michael Metivier of PopMatters commented that while the album took a while to understand, it was full of “exquisitely beautiful melodies and performances”.
- Allmusic writer Mark Deming called the album “Wilco’s strongest album as an ensemble to date,” and found the return to roots rock music a fresh new method for the band.
- The album received a nomination at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album.
- It placed 12th in the 2008 Pazz and Jop Poll.
- This album was #42 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007, and the song “Impossible Germany” was #71 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.
- WXPN named “Impossible Germany” as the #1 song of 2007 and named the album as a whole the #1 album of 2007.
- Sky Blue Sky was named one of the ten best albums of the year by Billboard, Paste Magazine, Uncut Magazine, and The Onion A.V. Club.
- The album was placed at #97 on the Rolling Stone 100 Best Albums Of The 2000’s list.
All songs written by Jeff Tweedy except as indicated.
- “Either Way” – 3:05
- “You Are My Face” (Tweedy, Cline) – 4:38
- “Impossible Germany” (Tweedy, Wilco) – 5:57
- “Sky Blue Sky” – 3:23
- “Side with the Seeds” (Tweedy, Jorgensen) – 4:15
- “Shake It Off” – 5:40
- “Please Be Patient with Me” – 3:17
- “Hate It Here” (Tweedy, Wilco) – 4:31
- “Leave Me (Like You Found Me)” – 4:09
- “Walken” (Tweedy, Wilco) – 4:26
- “What Light” – 3:35
- “On and On and On” (Tweedy, Wilco) – 4:00
- Nels Cline – electric guitar, 12 string guitar, lap steel guitar
- Mikael Jorgensen – piano, organs, Wurlitzer
- Glenn Kotche – drums, percussion, glockenspiel
- Pat Sansone – organs, guitar, Chamberlin, Mellotron, Wurlitzer, harpsichord, piano, backing vocals
- John Stirratt – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Jeff Tweedy – vocals, guitar, graphic design
- Additional musicians
- Jim O’Rourke – feedback, percussion, acoustic guitar, string arrangements
- Karen Waltuch – viola, violin
- Production and design
- Lawrence Azerrad – graphic design
- TJ Doherty – recording
- Robert Ludwig – mastering
- Nathaniel Murphy – illustrations
- Frack Ockenfels – photography
- Manuel Presti – cover photograph
- Jim Scott – mixing
- Jason Tobias, Tom Gloady, Kevin Dean – assistant engineering