REVIEW: My Morning Jacket – “The Waterfall”

My Morning Jacket
The Waterfall
Capitol Records

Every time I listen to The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket’s latest release, I have a different experience. In that sense, this is their most impressive songwriting to date. To craft an entire album of music with lyrical accompaniment that can be interpreted as both immensely depressing and wildly positive is truly an accomplishment. My Morning Jacket have seven studio albums, had songs in movies and on TV, been on the cover of the rolling stone…mostly just lived every musicians dream, but they still find a way to produce interesting music.

“Spring (Among The Living)” is the best song on this album if you are from Louisville. As Jim explains in the SONG EXPLODER PODCAST, the song is about how spring feels in the Ville. I couldn’t feel more connected to the band than when I hear “Oh I was ready for spring,” and “Among the living again.” Winter, for me, is a struggle every year. Then, every year, spring feels like a new beginning. It’s a new chance at living life. This song is the most accurate description of that feeling ever, and anyone who suffers from seasonal depression will relate. Does that make this song depressing, or is it the love song to the happiness caused by spring? The music suggest the former, but the lyrics suggest the latter.

That juxtaposition of lyrics versus music is present throughout the album. The most upbeat and positive sounding music on the album is in the song “Big Decisions,” but the lyrics suggest being tired of dealing with someone. Sometimes the lyrics are juxtaposed against each other. This is present in the opening song “Believe,” in which the chorus is “Believe, believe, believe, believe, nobody knows.” It’s demand followed by an argument against itself.

If you’re feeling positive about a breakup, then you will relate to “Get The Point.” Melodically, this song absolutely crushes. Amongst the many amazing vocal performances in Jim Jame’s career, this has to be one of my favorites. Not so much because of how complicated it is to sing, I could sing the song with an acoustic just fine, but I could never pull it off with the passion and reality that Jim does. How do you portray positivity about a break up in your voice anyway? It’s an unusual feeling in itself.

I could never claim to know or understand what is going on in Jim or the rest of the bands head, but for me this album is a reminder to never get too high or too low. Life has it’s ups and downs and you have to see, or sometimes at least hear the positivite vibes to stay sane.

Why should I try to explain it when Jim already has? I’ll leave you with my favorite lyrics from the song “Compound Fracture.”

There’s no evil, there’s no good
Only people doing as they should
Or as they shouldn’t in the light of day
“God” and “The Devil” were made up anyway
But their meanings so real and so plain
There is life in love and sound
Get as much as you can keep around
Before they put you into the ground
Till the next go round and around
Till the next go round