Succumbing to Evil Urges

A preview of the latest wandering tale from My Morning Jacket, a band that was not long ago considered the last hope for rock 'n' roll.

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by Alex V. Cook, Music Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: April, 2008
I'm questioning how much I ever liked MMJ in the first place

My thoughts during the first listen to the upcoming My Morning Jacket record, Evil Urges:

  1. They kinda lost me with Z, because I felt like they saw themselves reflected in the sweet but ham-fisted music movie Almost Famous; not as a great classic rock band owning an arena or golden gods, but as a classic rock band singing Elton John songs on the bus and having I-love-you-brother moments. I love that scene in Almost Famous too, but the ultimate danger of falling in love with one's reflection is not only the definition but the etymology of the word narcissism.
  2. Jim James is a really good singer, and he has solved his Kermit the Frog problem, but people should maybe hold off on telling him what a good singer he is.
  3. One song on here is really, really terrible. I'm not going to tell you which one, but you will recognize it as terrible when you hear it. Like it's not just regular terrible, but an innovative new breed of terrible. Like Komar and Melamid did some serious data-mining on their world's worst song project, and discovered uncharted territory.
  4. It is so terrible that you will be grateful for the REO Speedwagon-soundalike that follows it.
  5. Soft rock sounds great when you hear one song of it, its smoothness offering contrast to the bumpy road preceding and following it, like the shocking calm of passing under an overpass during a rainstorm, but prolonged exposure to such conditions hardly registers, like you don't really remark that it is not raining on on a clear day.
  6. Once they get their fuzz and drang on, it really starts to cook. It's like if Lenny Kravitz wasn't laughable and actually rocked. Why we had to scan the AM gold dial through T.G. Shepperd and the Pointer Sisters to finally find "Barracuda" is anyone's guess.
  7. I think My Morning Jacket and Radiohead are going to continue to rise until they converge in a muted rainbow explosion in the sky, killing all the dinosaurs again, and civilization will be left to reinvent itself in the wake.
  8. I'm questioning how much I ever liked MMJ in the first place. My first exposure to them was an essay in the sixth Oxford American Southern Music Issue (2003, though I can't find the author's name for some reason) so compellingly written that not only made made a band I'd never heard a note of become my favorite band at that moment, but created a standard that I have been trying to meet with my own writing ever since.
  9. This record would be a perfect soundtrack for an over-wrought movie about a trailer park kid abducted by aliens and then rudely deposited back in the park. Including the terrible closing credits number.
  10. At least you can no longer say Band of Horses sounds like a second-rate My Morning Jacket. You will have to find a completely different band of which Band of Horses can be a second-rate version.
  11. "Happier Than The Morning Sun" from Stevie Wonder's Music of My Mind came up after it, having typed "my morning" in the iTunes search box, and for a second there, I thought now wait, these boys have really landed on something...
  12. I'm thinking that it will grow on me, and somewhere in the ensuing weeks until its proper release I will have an epiphany about it and all joyous will be revealed, and I will give it a glowing proper review fraught with personal transformation analogies, and then like Z, I won't listen to it again unless it comes up on shuffle.

Evil Urges will tempt you wherever records are sold 6/10/2008

Alex V. Cook
Music Editor

Alex V. Cook listens to everything and writes about most of it. His latest book, the snappily titled Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky-Tonks, and Dance Halls is an odyssey from the backwoods bars and small-town dives to the swampside dance halls and converted clapboard barns of a Louisiana Saturday Night. Don't leave Heathrow without it. His first book Darkness Racket and Twang is available from SideCartel. The full effect can be had at alex v cook.com

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