‘Sky Blue Sky’ seems to have been written off by the music loving and music critiquing community for not being progressive enough, coming after ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ and ‘A Ghost Is Born’. Bollocks to that, I wish to ever so eloquently counter. It’s the slightly safe, homely, quality tunes aspects of this record that makes me love it so much not dislike it. For a period in the summer of 2007 and I listened to little else. Often starting and ending the day with it, to the extent that it became a mechanical reaction to simply slip the CD in and sit back.
When the guitar solo kicks in during ‘Either Way’ I feel genuinely happy. How many records can you say have such a definitive effect on you? And once that mood has been set, it stays. ‘Impossible Germany’ is a wonderfully oblique love song, cyclically ebbing its way to almost six minutes of splendour, while the riff-hungry ‘You Are My Face’ transcends its shoddy title to provide an air-guitar opportunity of some note.
The quality never abates and ‘Shake It Off’, ‘Walken’ and ‘What Light’ are all of a similarly high standard, with each little twiddly guitar part having a similar effect to the aforementioned equivalent in the very first song. I associate it with summer and tend to play it a lot more during the months when there should be some sunshine. Having said that, it still sounds pretty decent on a sub-zero Friday evening in December.
And, speaking of sound, I feel obliged to tell you to get this – and every other Wilco album – on vinyl. They take the format very seriously and each of their albums is now available on a superior vinyl pressing, with accompanying free CD for all of your digital needs. Not that you’ll really use it as Wilco’s music sounds exceptional on vinyl. That oft talked about warmth from the big slabs of wax is never more noticeable than on albums such as this one.