Happy 10th Anniversary: Wilco, SKY BLUE SKY
10 years ago today, Wilco released the album that would provide the band with the highest placement on the Billboard 200 of their career to date.
Produced by the band themselves and recorded on their home turf – The Wilco Loft in Chicago’s Irving Park – SKY BLUE SKY was the first Wilco album for two of the band’s members; guitarist Nels Cline and jack-of-all-musical-trades Pat Sansone. More importantly, though, it was the first album that the band had done with virtually no help from longtime collaborator Jim O’Rourke. The end result was a comparatively mellow affair, with frontman Jeff Tweedy indicating that the lyrics of the album had been influenced by his spinning LPs by The Byrds and Fairport Convention.
This wasn’t strictly a Tweedy-centric affair, however: SKY BLUE SKY features more co-writes between Tweedy and his bandmates than any Wilco album released up to that point. While it’s probably a coincidence that it also proved to be the highest-charting Wilco album released up to that point –it hit #4 on the Billboard 200 – it’s a nice bit of happenstance, to be sure. SKY BLUE SKY also won over the critics, earning positive reviews from most outlets, with Spin calling it “a near perfect album by a band that seems finally to have found their identity,” and the L.A. Times declared it to be “the most musically direct and down to earth of the band’s six album career.”
Whether you agree with these assessments or not, you might still want to give the record a spin, just to make sure you haven’t made a mistake. The consensus seems to be that it’s pretty darned good, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out.