Look to the Sky

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Look to the Sky
Studio album by James Iha
Released 14 March 2012 (Japan)
18 September 2012 (US)
Recorded 2010–2011
Genre Alternative rock, dream pop
Label EMI Music Japan
The End Records
Producer James Iha & Nathan Larson
James Iha chronology
Let It Come Down
(1998)
Look to the Sky
(2012)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
MOJO 4/5 stars link
AAA Music 4/5 stars link
Seattle P-I 3.5/5 starslink
Chicago Sun-Times 3/4 stars link
The Big Takeover (very favorable) link
Look at OKC (very favorable) link
ChicagoMusic.org (very favorable) link
FFWD (favorable) link
Short and Sweet NYC (favorable) link
Pitchfork Media (2.9/10) link

Look to the Sky is the second solo album of James Iha, co-founding member of The Smashing Pumpkins. It was released on 14 March 2012 in Japan, with a worldwide release in September 2012.[1] The album has many collaborations, including Karen O and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Sara (Tegan and Sara), Nathan Larson (Shudder To Think), Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Tom Verlaine (Television)[2] and Mike Garson.[3]

Release and Reception[edit]

Look to the Sky was released on 18 September 2012 in the US and 24 September 2012 in the UK, with "To Who Knows Where" acting as the lead single supporting the album release.[4] Due to the albums prior Japanese release date in March, it is noted that the track listing has been amended to accommodate an international UK/US release.

The album has received largely positive reviews from music critics. It was considered a "truly beautiful work"[5] "worth the 14-year wait"[6] and "well-written, beautifully played".[7] Other critics noted that "this new effort sees the ex-Pumpkin guitarist branch out and take in a myriad of other influences",[8] "finally owning his legacy as a '90s alt-rock pioneer"[9] and praised James Iha as "a master composer and arranger".[10] In comparison with 2012 Smashing Pumpkins' Oceania album, a critic said James Iha's album is "a breath of fresh air for anyone still hoping the original Pumpkins will reunite".[11] A negative review regarded the music as "outdated alt-rock songs that could comfortably sidle between choice cuts from Marcy Playground and Semisonic".[12]

Track listing - Japanese Release[edit]

All songs written and composed by James Iha, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Make Believe"     2:43
2. "Summer Days"   Iha, Nathan Larson 3:35
3. "To Who Knows Where"     4:18
4. "Till Next Tuesday"   Iha, Vanessa Quinones, Andreas Mattsson, Niclas Frisk 3:49
5. "Dream Tonight"     3:14
6. "Dark Star"   Iha, Nathan Larson 4:55
7. "Appetite"     4:11
8. "Gemini"     3:53
9. "Waves"     3:38
10. "Speed of Love"   Iha, Niclas Frisk 3:44
11. "4th of July"     3:40
12. "A String of Words"     3:56
Japanese edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Diamond Eyes"     3:56
14. "Stay Lost"   Iha, Mira Billotte 3:34

Track listing - International Release[edit]

All songs written and composed by James Iha, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Make Believe"     2:43
2. "To Who Knows Where"     4:18
3. "Gemini"     3:53
4. "Speed of Love"   Iha, Niclas Frisk 3:44
5. "Till Next Tuesday"   Iha, Vanessa Quinones, Andreas Mattsson, Niclas Frisk 3:14
6. "Summer Days"   Iha, Nathan Larson 4:55
7. "Appetite"     4:11
8. "Dream Tonight"     3:53
9. "New Year's Day"     3:38
10. "Waves"     3:38
11. "A String of Words"     3:56
International edition CD bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
12. "4th of July"     3:40
13. "Dark Star"   Iha, Nathan Larson 4:55

Personnel[edit]

  • James Iha – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, synth, glockenspiel, treatments, producer, string arrangements
  • Nathan Larson – guitar, bass, synth, treatments (tracks 1, 6, 7, 11, 13) and "New Year's Day", string arrangements (tracks 1, 5, 12), horn arrangements (tracks 5, 7)
  • Kevin March – drums on "To Who Knows Where", "Till Next Tuesday", "Gemini", "4th Of July", "A String Of Words" and "Stay Lost"
  • Tom Verlaine – guitars on "Till Next Tuesday" and "Appetite"
  • Sara Quin – vocals on "To Who Knows Where" and "Dream Tonight"
  • Josh Lattanzi – guitars, harmony vocals on "Dream Tonight" and "Diamond Eyes"
  • Nina Persson – vocals on "Make Believe" and "Till Next Tuesday"
  • Nick Zinner – guitar on "Dream Tonight"
  • Adam Schlesinger – bass on "Speed Of Love"
  • Karen O – vocals on "Waves"
  • Mike Garson – piano on "Appetite"
  • Niclas Frisk – guitars on "Till Next Tuesday" and "Speed Of Love"
  • Andreas Mattsson – vocals, strings on "Till Next Tuesday"
  • Arjun Agerwala – vocals on "4th Of July" and "New Year's Day"
  • Jon Graboff – pedal steel on "Dark Star", "4th Of July" and "Diamond Eyes"
  • Geoff Sanoff – bass on "Till Next Tuesday"
  • Alexis Fleisig – drums on "Speed Of Love"
  • Neal Casal – vocals on "To Who Knows Where", "Till Next Tuesday" and "Speed Of Love"
  • Kelly Pratt and Jon Natchez – horns, woodwinds on "Dream Tonight" and "Appetite"
  • Maxim Moston – violins on "Dream Tonight", "4th Of July", "A String Of Words" and "Diamond Eyes"
  • Julia Kent – cello on "Dream Tonight", "4th Of July", "A String Of Words" and "Diamond Eyes"
  • Tim Byrnes – trumpet on "A String Of Words"
  • Pete Remm – piano on "New Year's Day", hammond on "Diamond Eyes" and "Stay Lost"

Production[edit]

  • Produced By James Iha & Nathan Larson
  • Engineered By Arjun Agerwala, Geoff Sanoff, Rudyard Lee Cullers, Michael Nesci, Adam Tilzer
  • Assistant Engineered by Atsuo Matsumoto
  • Mixed By John Holbrook (tracks 1, 6, 14), Geoff Sanoff (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11), Arjun Agerwala (tracks 3, 8, 10, 12, 13)
  • Mastered By Joe LaPorta

Additional Personnel[edit]

  • Illustrations by Leanne Shapton
  • Art Direction by Triboro
  • B&W Artist Photography by Tyler Udall
  • Color Artist Photography by Aliya Naumoff
  • Landscape Photography by James Iha

References[edit]

  1. ^ "News". James Iha official website. 12 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "James Iha - Look to the Sky". The End Records. 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "MP3: James Iha – "Summer Days"". Obscure Sound. 15 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Song Premiere: James Iha, 'To Who Knows Where'". Rolling Stone. 15 October 2012. 
  5. ^ James Iha – Look At The Sky / AAAmusic, AAA Music, 9 September 2012 
  6. ^ CD review: James Iha 'Look to the Sky' / NewsOK.com, Look at OKC, 15 October 2012 
  7. ^ "Kanye West’s own songs stand out on G.O.O.D. Music compilation - Chicago Sun-Times". Chicago Sun-Times website. 15 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Music Review: James Iha - Look to the Sky". Seattle P-I. 15 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Look to the Sky - James Iha". Allmusic website. 15 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Album Review: James Iha "Look to the Sky" / Chicago Music". ChicagoMusic.org. 15 October 2012. 
  11. ^ "FFWD - Calgary Music - Record Reviews - James Iha - Look to the Sky". FFWD. 15 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "James Iha: Look to the Sky / Album Reviews / Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. 15 October 2012. 


External links[edit]

Album Premiere: James Iha "Look To The Sky" - Full Album Premiere @ TeamCoco.com

Technical Information: Behind the Release: James Iha "Look to the Sky"  : SonicScoop - Creative, Technical & Business Connections For NYC’s Music & Sound Community