Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky was that rare thing – an instant modern classic rock album

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Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky, released on May 15, 2007, opened with the gentle guitar of “Either Way” – and a film began to unreel in my mind. The black screen, the titles, and then Jeff Tweedy’s soft, scratchy voice crackled out “Maybe the sun will shine today,” just as a scene of the open road was revealed.

That’s what Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky was to me — road music, an escape, transportation away from the everyday nothingness that often drives us insane. And, more than any other piece of music, escape is exactly what I did with this album when it came out.

Wilco may have taken a quiet and calming turn here, but there was so much more going on. The music is subtle, revealing layers of intricate, thoughtful, and sometimes downright weird stuff going on underneath the top coating of amiable, easy-going tunes.

Listen close and it’s impossible to ignore jazz guitarist Nels Cline’s contributions, or the unusual drumming that Glenn Kotche lays down behind the band. These elements took Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky from simply being a good album to being something that needs to be listened to again and again. It was an instant modern classic rock album — a rarity these days.

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Tom Johnson
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