Dreaming is one of life’s great mysteries. Sure, there are plenty of talking heads ready to tell you what they mean and why you have them. But the real source and meaning of our own personal dreams are a nut that we’ll never crack, and that is what’s so cool about them. They are so close to us while remaining frustratingly confusing.
My Morning Jacket’s new album, Z, deals alot in dreams. Lead singer Jim James brings us into two of them on “Into The Woods” and “Dondante”. His ethereal, echo filled vocals lead the kind of music you’d probably hear at the funeral for a carnival worker. “Into The Woods” is the best song on the album, and the one you should absolutely download.
While “Into the Woods” and “Dondante” are near psychedelic both musically and lyrically, the band throws curveballs at you with tracks like “Off The Record” which sounds like something The Beach Boys may have recorded. “What a Wonderful Man” is a straight up hard rock number lasting less than 2 1/2 minutes, and worth every second of it. “Wordless Chorus” is another standout track with interesting time signatures, keyboard and drum work. Listen closely enough to the lyrics of the song for a taste of what Jim James thinks of America today.
The album itself is a dream; a throwback record of 10 dissimilar, but equally kick ass songs that conjure up country rock, The Beach Boys and much of what made 70′s rock so good. I have yet to listen to the album with my headphones on, opting for mp3s playing through the car speakers or the computer. I may need to spin this with the CD, something I never do anymore. There is so much subtle instrumentation, specifically of the keyboard and percussion variety, that I’d love to hear it in it’s original format.
While I haven’t given MMJ much notice over their 3 previous records, its time to really dig into their discography. If those albums are even half as good as Z, they’ll be must haves.