Possibly one of the biggest controversies regarding music in 2008 is whether or not Evil Urges is a success or a complete failure. I will start off by saying that My Morning Jacket is one of my favorite bands. They put on phenomenal live shows night in and night out. Their energy is unmatched and it remains all throughout each show. This should be no secret considering this band is known for their live performances, including sets that usually go over 2 hours. However, when I purchased and first listened to my copy of their latest album Evil Urges I realized that maybe this band could be on the verge of a downward spiral.
I cannot begin to express how disappointed I was after finishing my listen with this record. Words like terrible, awful, horrible, and trash came flowing from my mouth one after the other. I was in complete awe. Was this the band I’d fallen in love with years ago? Why does Jim James feel it’s necessary to do his best Prince impression? Where is the rock and roll this band bleeds on stage? I realized that I was not the only one with these types of questions. Message boards got bombarded with people bashing the album left and right. These negative views included people who have been following the band since the beginning. There were also people out there defending the band and this album. Although I respected their point of view, I couldn’t agree with it. In my eyes, My Morning Jacket attempted to do something new and failed….at least that’s how I felt for a couple weeks.
After the band played at Bonnaroo I heard nothing but great things about their performance as expected. They played for a good 3 hours and played all of Evil Urges. Friends that were at the show told me how great all the songs from the new album sounded when performed live. They insisted that I give it more play time before dismissing it. I decided to take their advice and give it a few more listens.
I put it on with the frame of mind that I now know what to expect and there will be no surprises. With this frame of mind, I found that I really started to enjoy the first track ‘Evil Urges.’ Ok, so maybe I didn’t give this a fair shot after all is what I thought to myself after the first track. As soon as, ‘Touch Me, I’m Going to Scream, Pt 1′ came on I was instantly hooked. Man, that guitar riff is so great and even though Jim is rocking an almost absurb falsetto at times, the song is so catchy that it doesn’t even bother me. It’s by far my favorite track on the album. Speaking of absurd falsettos, next comes ‘Highly Suspicious’ I’m not sure this song is ever going to gel with me. I just can’t get into it. As good as some of the guitar riffs/solos are in the song, the chorus is just plain bad. I’m sure it’s probably a fun song live, but it just doesn’t work with the album and it should’ve been left off.
The first 3 tracks seem to be the most controversial so I won’t bore everyone with going through every single track. Let’s just say after giving this a lot of listens this summer that Evil Urges has become one of my favorite albums of the year. The only track I don’t like is ‘Highly Suspicious’ as mentioned above. To call this album a grower is a complete understatement. It took numerous listens to realize how enjoyable it really is. I really suggest not giving up on this album so easily if you’ve chosen to do so. You’re missing out on a true gem by a band that continues to challenge themselves. It just takes a little extra work on the listener’s part to appreciate what this band has accomplished.
The Final Verdict: Success