Sorry, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Wilco’s best album is 2007’s Sky Blue Sky. One of their quietest records (except when guitarist Nels Cline lets loose), and less experimental than their much-acclaimed previous efforts, it gets nowhere near the love a handful of other records too. Even the band doesn’t seem to care that much; on their most recent tour, they performed songs from YHF, A Ghost Is Born, Being There, and the two newest records more often, according to Setlist.fm (Summerteeth would have beaten it too, except they play “Impossible Germany” every night). But the album sneaks up on you, and now occasionally appears on an underrated-masterpiece list.
To whoever doesn’t know the album, let Chris Thile’s new cover of deep cut “Shake It Off” – a song even Wilco almost never plays anymore – be your introduction. He busted it out recently on his radio show Live From Here (the rechristened Prairie Home Companion). Unlike some of his Punch Brothers covers, this isn’t a crazy mandolin workout, but rather a big-band lurch through the stops and starts of one of the album’s many masterpieces. No info on why, out of all Wilco songs, they chose this…but we’re glad they did.
Check out the cover below, then check out Sky Blue Sky wherever criminally overlooked albums are streamed.