Die hard Wilco fan‘s PCs have had a very busy few days. On Thursday the first leaked tracks from the upcoming Sky Blue Sky started making their way around music blogs, and caused all sorts of scrambling to get them downloaded before they disappeared. “Either Way”, “You Are My Face”, and “Walken” caused a lot of snap judgments over at Wilco fan site Via Chicago’s message board, as well as some thoughtful/interesting insights into the sound of the new material. My official snap judgment is that I like the stuff I’ve heard a lot. Sky Blue Sky is not going to be a dramatic, “important”, deeply artistic statement like their past several albums, but rather just a collection of really nice songs. Dig it.
Perhaps influenced by the leak, the band decided to share a sneak-peak at the album Saturday night. Sky Blue Sky was streamed in its entirety at 10 P.M. Central Time, giving fans their first taste of a more straightforward, soulful Wilco sound. It wasn’t soon after that that the album officially leaked all over file sharing sites. It’s out there folks, and if you don’t mind running the risk of being sued, spending some time in jail, or a big fat guilt complex, it can be had and heard free of charge. Until May 15th of course, when you need to support the artists and buy it in stores.
Today Wilco decided to provide fans with a free MP3 from Sky Blue Sky. Head over to Wilcoworld to legally download “What Light”. The song is an excellent representative of the album, as the lyrics perhaps shed a little light, one light, into Jeff Tweedy’s writing process for Sky Blue Sky. Letting go of the restrictive artistic inclinations that have lately, for better or worse, dominated Wilco albums, the song embraces the collaborative relationship between artist and fan. It reminds us that once a song has reached a fan’s ears the artist loses his complete control over it, as it now has the ability to move people in ways he can no longer direct.
And as a bonus, here is a live version of “Let’s Fight”, a new song that did not make the Sky Blue Sky cut. Personally it was one of my favorites among the new songs the band has been playing live over the past few tours, and I hope a studio version pops up somewhere in the very near future.
MP3 :: Let's Fight