Our top 10 My Morning Jacket songs introduce us to an American rock band whose sound has been rooted in rock and country. The band was formed in 1998 by singer-songwriter Jim James as an acoustic songs outlet. James would later tag in his cousin guitarist Johnny Quaid, bassist Tom Blankenship, and drummer J. Glenn. The band started its career under the moniker My Morning Jacket, a name inspired by a discarded coat James found emblazoned letters MMJ. Shortly after the band’s inception, My Morning Jacket released a debut album, The Tennessee Fire (1999), which achieved mild success in the US while receiving critical acclaim in Europe. Following this, the band made a European tour performing tons of shows in Belgium and Netherlands. My Morning Jacket would appear in the Dutch documentary, This Is Not America.
The band released its sophomore album, At Dawn (2001), building on the success of its debut album. Band founder and vocalist James went on to record his vocals for this album in a grain silo, creating a sound that became the trademark of the band’s album. My Morning Jacket toured heavily in the early 2000s as a supporting band to Foo Fighters, Guided by Voices, and Doves. The band would be faced with major lineup changes but still stayed focused on releasing even more albums and growing its fanbase. Its album Z (2005) would become the band’s breakthrough having the band regarded by music critics the American Radiohead.
Thanks to James reverbed vocals and experimentation with psychedelic rock and dub reggae vibes, the album was quite a hit. The band went with the release of albums with Evil Urges standing out from My Morning Jacket’s later releases. Evil Urges was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Alternative Rock Album award, featuring Kirk Hammett of Metallica as a guest appearance. Here are the top 10 My Morning Jacket songs from the band’s nine studio albums.
#10 – Love Love Love
Ushering us to the top 10 My Morning Jacket is the hit “Love Love Love,” featured on the band’s self-titled album. James revealed that the song tries to steer the ship away from everything he talked about in the band’s hit “Regularly Scheduled Programming.” The song’s lyrics allude to positivity and pure love, where one pursues the truth within themselves and the world around them. “Love Love Love” boasts a dance-y groove having it build to a climactic end which is marked by James’s cathartic closing solo. Of Monsters and Men, an iconic Icelandic indie-folk and rock band, released a song with a similar title.
#9 – One Big Holiday
My Morning Jacket released several luscious ballads in the album It Still Moves (2003). One of them is “One Big Holiday,” which the band also featured on Okonokos. Even though the song lacked enough radio airplay, it fought its way to the top music scenes, becoming one of the band’s live performance favorites. The song is famed for its lyrics which allude to a story about My Morning Jacket being discovered. My Morning Jacket made the song even more unique, having it possess its signature guitar riff.
#8 – Regularly Scheduled Programming
“Regularly Scheduled Programming” is a single from the band’s eponymous album. The song begins with a swooning intro only to settle into an energetic beat that builds to an intense end. “Regularly Scheduled Programming” finds the band’s frontman struggling with the trappings of the modern world. A video that complements the song’s message accompanies the release thanks to perfection chased by director George Mays and Jim James.
“Dondante” is one of the emotional songs that My Morning Jacket has released in the album Z. Its motivation goes back to the times before the band’s inception. Initially, Jim James was the vocalist and guitarist to the band Month of Sundays before its culmination. At the band, James had quite an intimate relationship with fellow songwriter and guitarist Aaron Todovich who committed suicide after being on antidepressants. While penning down “Dondante,” James felt like his long-gone friend was in the room. He went on to reveal that late Aaron manifested the song “Dondante,” a release that found the band members crying while playing it.
#6- Holding On to Black Metal
Black metal is an extremely heavy metal sub genre that, for the longest time, has served as an outlet for young aggression. However, the music sub genre has been met with hostility from mainstream culture owing to the anti-Christ standpoint of many artists that play it. My Morning Jacket released the “Holding On to Black Metal” in Circuital to express the skepticism about people holding on to matters as dark as black metal once they jump into adulthood. Bassist Tommy went on to acknowledge that obsession with anything can be a distraction from the future. However, he recognizes that some matters can only be expressed through escapism, having their importance not easily discountable.
#5- Victory Dance
“Victory Dance” is an incredible introduction to the momentum of the band’s sixth studio album, Circuital (2011). The song has the album start on a strange note dressed with spacey keys and high-pitched chants. “Victory Dance” showcases Jim James’ vocal capabilities trapping us in a glorious trance of an emerging deep bass that complements the sinister guitar riffs. The song serves as an emblem of the album’s unique yet impressive sound.
#4- Feel You
While the COVID-19 pandemic affected the career of many, My Morning Jacket was inspired to make the final touches of the band’s sequel to The Waterfall. One of the songs released in the album The Waterfall II is “Feel You,” a hit that helped My Morning Jacket nab their first number one on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs. The song’s lyrics allude to the need to slow down and feel the natural world which to vocalist James is a perfect way to waste time.
#3 – I’m Amazed
Yet another single by My Morning Jacket successful on the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart is “I’m Amazed.” The song is an original composition by Jim James released on the band’s album Evil Urges (2008). “I’m Amazed” is an effortless and calculated track known for its breezy yet naïve vibe that helps it prompt the unconscious sing-along reflex. The song peaked at number five on the US Adult Alternative Songs chart.
#2 – Wordless Chorus
“Wordless Chorus” is a song whose title works literally, having its chorus indeed wordless. However, its joyous sounds make it an iconic song among our best My Morning Jacket songs. “Wordless Chorus” elicited a comparison of Jim James’ songwriting skills with Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips. The song boasts of the only heavy reverb in the album Z.
#1- Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part 2
Number one on our top 10 My Morning Jacket songs is the hit “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part 2.” “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream Part 2” was released in the band’s album, Evil Urges, having it famed for featuring in an extended dream sequence in one of the American Dad episodes. The song feels more like something between a persisting Pink Floyd space anthem and rock vibes by Radiohead. James delivers his vocals amid grandiose piano chords and striking guitar riffs, making the song one of the band’s best releases of all time.
Feature Photo: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com