My Morning Jacket
Evil Urges


2.5
average

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
February 2nd, 2009 | 19 replies | 8,225 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A good listen in general, but one that is frustratingly uneven and overly indulgent even for a band that is well known for stretching their creative boundaries.

My Morning Jacket has always been ahead of the curve in the Americana country-rock scene, blowing listeners away with their unique combination of psychedelic pop and barn-burning guitar rock on their last album, 2005’s Z. Their newest continues this trend of expanding their sound but doesn’t quite leave a lasting mark as Z does, instead wasting much of its creative capital on genre expeditions that often fail to pan out.

Evil Urges starts off with mixed results. The title track, a soul-inflected, funky piece with a rollicking second-half guitar solo, opens the album and singer/guitarist Jim James’ voice is in fine falsetto form. “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part I,” however, is a by-the-numbers retread of an amalgam of songs from Z, mostly “It Beats 4 U,” and comes and go with barely anything to attract the listener’s attention. It’s mediocre and nearly boring, something MMJ has had a tough time being in the past several years.

The worst offense on the record, however, is easily the next track, “Highly Suspicious,” a song that attempts to emulate Prince but ends up turning James’ powerful voice into a parody of itself. The cartoonish bass chants of “highly suspicious / highly suspicious of you” and the artificial guitar solo turns the song into its own joke, the kind that doesn’t know when to quit and quickly becomes annoying.

The rest of the record is a series of musical gems that practically sparkle with the kind of country-fried rock and good ideas that MMJ have become loved for interspersed with tracks that quite rightly pose the question: “what were they thinking?” “I’m Amazing” is a fantastic song, anchored by a simple keyboard beat and propelled by James’ transcendent vocals and a storming guitar part. The momentum is squandered, however, by the following “Thank You Too!,” a song so earnest it had to have its own exclamation point. It veers dangerously close to soft-rock territory and the words are some of the sappiest MMJ have put to music.

Evil Urges is marred by this inconsistency, and it’s definitely a record that requires repeated listens. A song like “Librarian” at first tends to fade into the memory on the first run, but on returning it shows itself to be a beautifully well crafted slow-burner of a song that owes everything to James’ yearning delivery.

Other songs, however, like the too-country-for-its-own-good “Look At You,” which suffers from a uninteresting melody and an anticlimactic chorus, or the ill-planned shredder “Remnants,” which drowns itself in reverb and guitar feedback and unintelligible lyrics, never truly distinguish themselves as anything other than substandard indie-rock fare.

It’s hard to criticize a band which has been so consistent for so long, and songs like “Two Halves” and the catchy bar-band rocker “Aluminum Park” prove that My Morning Jacket still have the fire in them. But it is also impossible to ignore the irreparable harm a song like “Highly Suspicious” does to a record, and while the band has succeeded in cutting down their usually jam-band-esque song lengths over the years, the eight-minute long closer “Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Part II” contains about four minutes of dispensable baggage. And the totally unnecessary five-second long “Good Intentions” that truly ends the album is inexplicable, to say the least. A good listen in general, but one that is frustratingly uneven and overly indulgent even for a band that is well known for stretching their creative boundaries.



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user ratings (229)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Nick Greer EMERITUS (4)
Southern rock, indie, and psychedelic synergies have been realized....


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2009



10329 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Surprised there hasn't been a negative review for this yet, so I thought I'd post mine from last year.

Digging: Literature - Chorus

IAmInsect
February 2nd 2009



3800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

good review, but highly suspicious rules

Athom
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2009



17204 Comments


Good review, I haven't heard this enough to form an opinion on it but it would probably be around a 3.

thebhoy
Emeritus
February 2nd 2009



4459 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review, you could've probably mixed some of your paragraphs together to cut out the awkward short ones, ie. the second and third last paragraphs.

bastard
February 2nd 2009



3435 Comments


this review was needed

SeaAnemone
February 2nd 2009



20049 Comments


^exactly... I thought this was a little overrated. I mean, top of the year lists!? come on.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

AggravatedYeti
February 2nd 2009



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

^ exactly
This is well written, beyond the fact that I happen to agree.


bastard
February 2nd 2009



3435 Comments


this was kinda lol

don't really know why people liked it, I thought Nick Greer would be one of the first people to say this sucked.

AggravatedYeti
February 2nd 2009



7684 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

people liked this?
I had to defend 'Robbers & Cowards' on multiple occasions, I'm yet to run into someone who enjoys the follow up.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2009



10329 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Loyalty to Loyalty wasn't that bad. On the other hand, Evil Urges is without doubt on my top 10 list of most disappointing/overrated of 2008.

rawrmonster
November 3rd 2009



118 Comments


I didn't mind this album. I thought that some of the tracks were very 50's, which i didn't like, but all in all it was pretty good

shindip
November 3rd 2009



3536 Comments


I have only heard highly suspicious and i thought it was awesome : /

bsm187605
December 3rd 2009



26 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What Evil Urges lacks in complexity, it makes up in down right rockability.
I won't deny that it isn't as listenable as Z, but its definitely not average.

rebel86
October 19th 2010



132 Comments


This review doesn't count. So we will just ignore it,

juiceviaorange
May 28th 2011



285 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You take Highly Suspicious off of this album and it heads from a 3-3.5 to a solid 4+ for me, that song licks balls

G3N3R1C
August 5th 2011



1945 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Highly Suspicious is definitely the worst song on here, but it's also simultaneously the most interesting song on here. The rest of this isn't exactly offensively bad or anything. Aluminum Park and Touch Me Part 2 might be worthwhile songs outside of full listens to this album, but this thing as a whole is so bland and just drags.

thatoneguy726
June 5th 2012



1632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like it a lot when I hear the songs on their own.

jtswope
June 12th 2013



2086 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very well written. Good job. However, I feel exactly the opposite about Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Pt. 1 though. I think
it's one of the more interesting and attention grabbing tracks. But Highly Suspicious... I think most of us can agree about
that one...

ExcentrifugalForz
July 20th 2014



1707 Comments


highly suspicious isn't exactly an award winner

but i swear in concert it brings down the house

Digging: Renaissance - Grandine il Vento



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