Best of Rock and Country - Far, Far Away and Sky Blue Sky by Wilco

City Lights

Far, Far Away and Sky Blue Sky are songs by Wilco, an American alternative rock band active since the 90s. Featuring typically terse sounding lyrics and measured, almost held back style, they are nonetheless compelling in their own way with condensed expressions that seem to combine the best elements of rock and country music. Both penned by the leader Jeff Tweedy, whose singing is as far removed from flamboyant exuberance as can be, their emotive melodies and lyrics will give you surprisingly impactful listening experience.

Far, Far Away

Far, far away from those city lights
Might be shining on you tonight
Far, far away from you
On the dark side of the moon

I long to hold you in my arms and sway
Kiss and ride on the CTA
I need to see you tonight
And those bright lights
Oh, I know it's right
Deep in my heart
I'll know it's right

By the bed, by the light that you read by
By the time that I get home to say good night

I need to see you again
On the dark side my friend
On the dark side

멀리, 저 멀리

저 멀리 도시의 불빛들
오늘 밤 널 비춰줄지도
네게서 멀리 떠나와
달의 어둠 저편에 있어

널 품에 안은 채 흔들리고파
키스하며 CTA 라인 돌고파
오늘 밤 만나야만 해
그래, 저 밝은 불빛은
그래야 한다고 말해
내 마음 깊은 곳에서
그래야 함을 난 알아

너의 침대, 네가 책을 읽는 불빛
오늘 밤 집에 가 잘 자라고 속삭이며

너를 다시 만나야만 해
어둠 저편에서, 그대여
어둠 저편에서

Sky Blue Sky

Oh, the band marched on in formation
The brass was phasing tunes I couldn't place
Windows open and raining in
Maroon, yellow, blue, gold and gray

The drunks were ricocheting
The old buildings downtown empty so long ago
Windows broken and dreaming
So happy to leave what was my home

With a sky blue sky
This rotten time
Wouldn't seem so bad to me now
Oh, I didn't die
I should be satisfied I survived
That's good enough for now

With a sky blue sky
This rotten time
Wouldn't seem so bad to me now
Oh, if I didn't die
I should be satisfied I survived
That's good enough for now

푸른 하늘

밴드는 대오를 맞춰 행진하며
브라스가 모르는 곡을 연주했지
열린 창으로 들어오는
붉은 노란 푸른 금빛 회색들

술주정 소리 튕기듯 스쳐가고
중심가엔 오래 빈 낡은 건물들
창들은 깨진 채 꿈꾸고
고향이지만 떠나고픈 곳

푸른 하늘이라면
이 빌어먹을 시절도
그리 못 견디리만은 아니리
아, 난 안 죽었어
살아 버틴 걸로 만족해야 해
일단 그걸로 된 거야

푸른 하늘이라면
이 빌어먹을 시절도
그리 못 견디리만은 아니리
아, 안 죽었다면
살아 버틴 걸로 만족해야 해
일단 그걸로 된 거야

Jeff Tweedy

Far, Far Away, from Wilco’s second album Being There of 1996, is about missing one’s loved one who is far away from the narrator. Tweedy sings it in a low key style like he is quietly talking to himself, No fancy techniques or heightened emotions are in display, yet the result is compelling. Perhaps it is an example of the essence triumphing over the flourishes. Essential elements like the structure and phrasing, the ensemble of the instruments and their interplay with Tweedy’s vocals, and the moody lyrics are all superb. Seemingly not even trying very hard, it gets to me much more than many other ambitious sounding songs.

Sprawling, distant city lights seem to bring out the child in you, making you grow wistful, whether you are longing for your loved one, missing your long gone innocent times, or thinking about what might be in store for you on your journey in this world. The narrator says he knows he is right from gazing at the lights, that he gets an inner conviction from them. He says early on he is on the dark side of the moon, and repeats on the dark side as he finishes. What is the dark side here? Does he have a dark personality? Does he see himself and his partner as creatures on the dark alleyways far removed from the high roads of the mainstream? Is it a code word for some secret between them? Who knows, but it fits the title and the mood of the song very well - at least for me.


Sky Blue Sky is from their 2007 album of the same name. It is like Far, Far Away in many aspects, down to the three word title with one repetition. This time the subject is more serious and desperate. It is supposedly about Tweedy’s youth as he grew up in the city of Belleville, Illinois, said to be a rundown place with not much going for it, which he was only happy to get out of.
It goes Oh, I didn’t die; I should be satisfied I survived; That’s good enough for now, like he has been so far down the despair road that he is grateful for just being alive. It is an outcry from someone who has hit the bottom. And even in all that abject misery, with a sky blue sky, this rotten time wouldn’t seem so bad to him now. He is saying even in such utter despair we still have mother nature, the absolute constant we can always rely on to generously give of herself - always reawakening us to a renewed hope.

Just as everyone has his or her own taste, I happen to love this kind of songs - pensive and moody, yet with a gripping melodic phrases and more than a touch of sadness. They put me in a nice mental cocoon of a cozy comfort.


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