Album preview: Wilco's new record -- We give you the rundown on "Sky Blue Sky"

By Clark Collis
April 06, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The risk with any album as fervently anticipated as Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is that some people are going to be disappointed. ”There are newer fans that are crying foul,” says Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy of the early reaction to the CD, which hits stores May 15 but has already been streamed on the band’s website ( ”Every f—ing record I’ve ever made has been received in the same way. If that wasn’t happening, I think I would be worried.” Certainly Wilco’s sixth studio disc represents yet another shift for the musically mercurial outfit. Wilco began in 1995 as an alt-country act in the vein of Tweedy’s previous band, Uncle Tupelo. But their breakout, gold-certified 2002 album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, featured a good deal of dissonant sonic experimentation. 2004’s A Ghost Is Born sounded stranger still and featured a 10-minute song about tax-return-completing spiders. Sky Blue Sky, however, is a more straightforward affair. Tweedy says the simplicity of tracks such as opener ”Either Way” was partly a result of his recovery from the prescription-painkiller addiction that sent him to rehab just prior to the release of A Ghost Is Born. ”It’s a lot easier to speak directly in all areas of my life,” he says. ”I just don’t have as much to hide. I’m not f—ed up and that makes things a lot simpler.”