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
멀리, 저 멀리
Sky Blue Sky
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.