Album Review | My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall

Among the living
Among the living again
I didn’t think I’d make it

In 2011, I stood in the back of the pit at Bonnaroo, excited to experience My Morning Jacket for the first time. It was more than I ever could have imagined.

The details of the set meant everything to me — the way Jim James wore his fuzzy white boots, the way the opening song, “Victory Dance,” was introduced by a trumpet solo, the way it seemed there was nowhere else they would rather be — jamming on a random farm — hot, sticky, sweaty — in middle Tennessee. As much as I enjoyed it, I didn’t always get this feeling from their studio work (well, outside of the song “Circuital,” which makes me want to drive 100mph on the freeway).

Cut to 2015, and their new album: the trippy, sun-soaked masterpiece, The Waterfall. This is the sound of My Morning Jacket taking chances, and it’s also the sound of an album telling a story with its music. Lyrically, this is a basic collection of songs, but there’s an undercurrent of subtle psychedelia, classic rock, and gentle pop that carries its message: believe in something, because nobody really knows.

At the heart of The Waterfall are two tracks that refuse to follow a script: “In Its Infancy (The Waterfall)” and “Spring (Among The Living).” It would not surprise me if these two nuggets matched the storyline of Pulp Fiction (seriously, somebody try that though) the way Dark Side of the Moon flows with The Wizard of Oz. When I used the word masterpiece earlier, I was thinking of these two works of art, which, in my mind, are already timeless, unstoppable pieces of gold. Kinda like a waterfall itself.

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