The Waterfall II
A color-inverted photograph of a waterfall
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 10, 2020 (2020-07-10)
Recorded2013–2014
Studio
Genre
Length46:35
LabelATO
Producer
My Morning Jacket chronology
The Waterfall
(2015)
The Waterfall II
(2020)

The Waterfall II is the eighth studio album by American rock band My Morning Jacket, released on July 10, 2020.[3] Made up of recordings made in 2013 that also produced the 2015 release The Waterfall, this psychedelic pop work has received positive reviews from critics.

Recording and release

The album is made up of recordings from the band's 2015 release The Waterfall, which vocalist Jim James reviewed during the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] At the time, James mentioned that My Morning Jacket had enough material for a second album but the material was unrelated to The Waterfall; he indicated that they would release the next album swiftly but they only put out occasional singles until 2020.[4] James rediscovered the songs after listening to his own personal digital music player on shuffle when the track "Spinning My Wheels" came on.[5] The band debuted the release via an online listening party on July 9, 2020; the digital edition was released the next day with physical editions slated for release on August 28.[3] "Magic Bullet" was previously released as a single on July 11, 2016.[6] "The First Time", which was featured on the Roadies soundtrack, was released as a single on July 15, 2016.[7] "Welcome Home" has previously been performed live by the band and was recorded as part of their 2011 iTunes Session EP.[8]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Album of the Year73100[1]
Metacritic78100[9]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[10]3.5/5 stars
American Songwriter[11]4/5 stars
Consequence of Sound[12]B+
Exclaim!7/10 stars[13]
Our Culture Mag3/5 stars[14]
Pitchfork7.210[15]
Under the Radar8/10 stars[16]

The Waterfall II was met with positive reviews from critics noted at review aggregator Metacritic. This release received a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on five reviews.[9] The critical consensus at Album of the Year is a 73 out of 100 with five reviews.[1]

The weekend of The Waterfall II's release, several brief, positive reviews were posted online by outlets such as The Oakland Press, calling it noteworthy;[17] a recommendation by The Kokomo Tribune;[18] Pitchfork, with reviewer Madison Bloom naming it one of six albums to listen to of the week;[19] and Billboard declaring it "the album that will sound great at music festivals in 2021 (and beyond)".[20] Brooklyn Vegan's notable releases of the week included The Waterfall II for its diverse blending of genres, the strength of James' vocals, and the band's willingness to experiment after over 20 years of performing and recording.[2] Uproxx's Zac Gelfand named this one of the best new indie music releases of the week;[21] that publication also featured a full review by Steven Hyden that considers this superior to the original Waterfall.[22]

The editorial staff of AllMusic gave this album 3.5 out of five stars, with reviewer Mark Deming considering this superior to The Waterfall, summing up his review by writing that this is, "consistent, well-structured, and satisfying in a way the original was not".[10] Tyler Clark of Consequence of Sound praised the musicianship of the album but criticized the relative lack of experimentation from the first volume; he recommends it particularly as summer escapism during the difficulties of quarantine in the COVID-19 pandemic.[12] In American Songwriter, Hal Horowitz gave the release four out of five stars, noting continuity in the mood of this album and its predecessor, with attention given to the interplay of James' introspective lyrics with the upbeat music that accompanies it; he ends his review stating, "the set may not be quite as impressive or cohesive as its Grammy nominated predecessor, but it’s not far behind it".[11] In Our Culture Mag, Konstantinos Pappis gave the album three out of five stars, finding the album "unexpectedly prescient", with strong lyrics and "much-needed escapism" that suffers from "more of the same" that "fails to replicate [My Morning Jacket]'s most transcendent moments".[14]

Stephen M. Deusner of Pitchfork gave the release a 7.2 out of 10, echoing other reviewers' perspective that the timing of the release is relevant and he highlights James' vocals and the quality of his lyrics.[15] Mark Richardson of The Wall Street Journal considers this a "mostly serene and reflective record" that focuses on "longing, memory, and spiritual healing" that speaks to James' strengths as a vocalist and considers this album "a remarkably cohesive set that never feels like a collection of leftovers, an album just as good as its predecessor that complements its tone".[23] Calum Slingerland of Exclaim! gave the album a seven out of 10, ending, "Much of this material would be hard pressed to directly sweep anything off The Waterfall in its wake, but... The Waterfall II is enjoyable closure to those who will soon turn to anticipate the next new album My Morning Jacket have on deck".[13] Jim Scott of Under the Radar gave the album eight out of 10 stars, with special attention to the vocals and how this album fits into the band's musical evolution.[16] Rolling Stone included this release as one of the 18 picks for the month of September 2020.[24]

Track listing

  1. "Spinning My Wheels" – 4:48
  2. "Still Thinkin’" – 4:14
  3. "Climbing the Ladder" – 3:00
  4. "Feel You" – 6:14
  5. "Beautiful Love (Wasn’t Enough)" – 2:52
  6. "Magic Bullet" – 5:12
  7. "Run It" – 4:37
  8. "Wasted" – 6:06
  9. "Welcome Home" – 3:46
  10. "The First Time" – 5:46

Personnel

My Morning Jacket

Additional musicians

  • Anna Fritz – strings, backing vocals
  • Brittany Howard – backing vocals
  • Kacey Johansing – backing vocals
  • Kyleen King – strings, backing vocals
  • Patti King – strings, backing vocals

Technical personnel

Charts

Chart performance for The Waterfall II
Chart (2020)Peak
position
US Billboard 200[25]117

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "My Morning Jacket The Waterfall II". Album of the Year. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Sacher, Andrew (July 10, 2020). "Notable Releases of the Week (7/10)". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Blistein, Jon (July 7, 2020). "My Morning Jacket Detail New Album The Waterfall II". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Hyden, Steven (April 7, 2015). "One Big Circle: How My Morning Jacket Rebounded with Its Best Album in a Decade". Grantland. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Doyle, Patrick (July 30, 2020). "Jim James on My Morning Jacket's 'Waterfall II,' Live Music After COVID-19". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  6. ^ "My Morning Jacket Releases Plea for Peace 'Magic Bullet'". Billboard. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  7. ^ Robinson, Collin (July 15, 2016). "My Morning Jacket – 'The First Time'". Stereogum. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Kaye, Ben (July 7, 2020). "My Morning Jacket Announce New Album The Waterfall II, Out This Friday". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Waterfall IIby My Morning Jacket". Metacritic. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "The Waterfall II – My Morning Jacket". AllMusic. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  11. ^ a b Horowitz, Hal (July 10, 2020). "My Morning Jacket (Finally) Closes the Book on 'The Waterfall' Sessions". American Songwriter. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Clark, Tyler (July 10, 2020). "My Morning Jacket's The Waterfall II Offers a Slice of Thoughtful Summer Escapism". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Slingerland, Calum (July 15, 2020). "My Morning Jacket's The Waterfall II Is the Culmination of a Creative Explosion". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  14. ^ a b Pappis, Konstantinos (July 13, 2020). "Album Review: My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall II". Our Culture Mag. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. (July 12, 2020). "My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall II: Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Scott, Jim (July 30, 2020). "My Morning Jacket: The Waterfall II (ATO)". Under the Radar. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  17. ^ Graff, Gary (July 10, 2020). "New Music: Ray Wylie Hubbard, Margo Price, Mike Shinoda, Juice WRLD". The Oakland Press. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  18. ^ Ogle, Rodney (July 10, 2020). "Stuff We Like: Friday, July 10, 2020". The Kokomo Tribune. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  19. ^ Bloom, Madison (July 10, 2020). "6 New Albums You Should Listen to Now: Julianna Barwick, My Morning Jacket, and More". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  20. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (July 10, 2020). "First Stream: New Music From Juice WRLD, Summer Walker, Katy Perry and More". Billboard. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  21. ^ Gelfand, Zac (July 14, 2020). "All the Best New Indie Music from This Week". Uproxx. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Hyden, Steven (July 10, 2020). "On The Waterfall II, My Morning Jacket Returns with a Sad Epic". Uproxx. Retrieved July 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Richardson, Mark (July 13, 2020). "The Waterfall II by My Morning Jacket Review: A Rush of Inspiration from Years Ago". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  24. ^ Grow, K. (October 1, 2020). "Best Albums of September 2020: Alicia Keys, Neil Young, Toots and the Maytals, and More". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  25. ^ "My Morning Jacket Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 9, 2020.

External links