Wilco

Sky Blue Sky
(Nonesuch)

If Wilco put together a greatest hits album, it probably would contain only two or three songs from Sky Blue Sky — and although that may sound like a criticism, it's actually more of a testament to the band's impressive body of work. Whereas 2004's A Ghost Is Bornwas a tad unfocused and jam-heavy, Skyis far more song-oriented and less Krautrock-influenced than it is informed by legendary folk acts such as the Band. However, despite the album's laid-back feel, it's still unquestionably a Wilco record. "Impossible Germany" is reminiscent of "Jesus, Etc." from 2002's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,save for a jaw-dropping jazz-fusion guitar solo courtesy of recent addition Nels Cline; "What Light" is a Dylan-influenced acoustic-driven number that recalls Wilco's early material (or even Uncle Tupelo's final recordings); and the stripped-down "Please Be Patient With Me" displays a side of frontman Jeff Tweedy that's so vulnerable, the song will break your heart as fast it'll embed itself in your brain. Lyrically, Sky Blue Skyis far less cryptic than the band's last effort — and while there are no ghosts being born, songs such as "Hate It Here" manage to take a familiar theme (getting over a breakup) and put it in a fresh new context. Come to think of it, that is what made most of us love Wilco in the first place.

 
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