Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #39: "Victory Dance" -- My Morning Jacket

Some people have this unconditional infatuation with My Morning Jacket, regardless of what the band puts out. While some prefer the bands Southern rock past, and others the matured rock sound of recent years, still more seem to enjoy the five-piece no matter what they decide to do on their most recent record of the time.

For me, MMJ's allure comes from their live show -- they're one of the best live rock bands out there, especially effective in a festival setting. That said, I don't feel they've ever been able to recreate that live aesthetic in the studio. Their sound off-record is so much more gripping and affecting than on-record. And (mainly because going to shows isn't exactly the easiest situation for someone in my financial situation) I just want to hear a record that doesn't let me down when I stack it against the live show, plain and simple.

OK, but that said, My Morning Jacket's new record Circuital isn't a poor effort. But aside from two songs, including the title track, there isn't much to really keep the listener's interest. If you've listened to the new record, I'm curious -- which songs, if any, do you actually still listen to? I know not everyone's the same, but I'd wager that it's not too many.

"Victory Dance" is the other track that piques my interest each and every time.

The song is a mainly chilled-out affair, despite its rising intensity all throughout. It's sinister, too. Above a deep, brooding bass, grooving guitar lines fade in and out of Jim James' vocal. The psyched-out jam gains in volume from start to finish, both instruments and vocalists following accordingly.

All in all, the song is a formidable opener to the album that, followed by "Circuital," creates an astounding one-two punch that should have been the beginning to a classic record. Instead, the rest of the album falters in comparison. But hey -- think of it as a two-sided single, and you've got a winner.

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