Sound — 9
"Sky Blue Sky" is one of my favourite albums of all time, the melodies tend to stay with me and I find myself coming back to listen again regularly. Nels Cline, the lead guitarist, is one of the greatest guitarists of the modern era (in my opinion, of course), and his solos are the highlight of what is a fantastic album for me. It is quite unusual for a lead guitarist to be given so much freedom in this day and age, particularly in a band that seems to be driven by the calibre of their song writing, rather than their musicianship alone.
Lyrics — 8
This album is strong lyrically, with many themes relating to life and relationships that we can all relate to. Sad songs such as "Leave Me (Like You Found Me)" and "Hate It Here," which deal with love and loss, are complimented by more complex and upbeat tracks such as "Impossible Germany," which is much more upbeat and looks at the complexities of relationships, in a roundabout way. Perhaps most touching of all is the final track "On and On and On," which Tweedy wrote as a homage to his widowed father.
Overall Impression — 9
I give this album 9 out of 10 and if you've not had the pleasure, it is well worth a listen. There are many things that make this album great, but above all else, the diversity of "Sky Blue Sky" is its greatest feature. The album effortlessly sways between gentle, country style ballads, and full on heavy rock songs with extended solos. In amongst all this, the album retains a wonderfully simple sound - it isn't over produced and often just sounds like a bunch of guys jamming out the songs in their front room. For me the stand out track is "Impossible Germany," but that is mainly down to the unique and extraordinarily impressive guitar solo at the end of the track. If you get a chance, I also recommend checking out some of their live stuff on YouTube and for any guitarists out there, witnessing a live performance of "Impossible Germany" is a must.