Album of the Week: Jim James, 'Eternally Even'


Jim James, 'Eternally Even'
Jim James, 'Eternally Even' (Capitol Records)

Jim James, frontman of My Morning Jacket, has something to say. His second solo record is Eternally Even, and it's his vehicle for releasing his thoughts and reactions to: the political divide of the United States; violence; inequality; and his frustrations with the state of our world.

The release of this record couldn't be more timely, just a few days before Election Day. Jim James really wants you go to your polling place on Election Day and vote; he is bummed about the current state of affairs, but at the same time, he's optimistic about the future — as long as people can band together and use their collective voice.

On his website, Jim James offers some explanation for where his head was at when making the new album, Eternally Even. He writes, "I wanted to make an album that hopefully speaks to the issues of the day, many of which, sadly, are issues we have been dealing with since the beginning of time. Most of what I think about right now is how so many things in the world are SO f****d up — our political system is broken and corrupt … our earth is being destroyed by climate change … people are not treating each other with equality and respect … and I think — are we going to make it? Are we going to figure it out and fix it before it's too late? Can we ever truly open our hearts and embrace love in all its beautiful forms? I think it's still possible. I still have hope in humanity. I'm just trying to be a part of the discussion and encourage people to speak out for equality, to not be afraid to speak out for peace and love. All of us feel afraid at times in these absolutely insane times, but it's important we speak our minds, cast our votes, and do not give in to fear and hatred."

Not only was Jim James inspired by the world around him and his hope for a collective voice to inspire change, but he also found inspiration in some instrumental recordings he had sitting around due to some rejected film score work. He was able to take a fresh listen to some of that old music after a move to Los Angeles, and then he had lots of ideas about lyrics and melodies that seemed to just pop out of those old recordings. He explained it during his recent visit to The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, in a video called, "How I Wrote That Album":

The album is a swirly, nine-track album of grooves, layers, darkness and downright soulful, funkiness at times. It's full of political statements and observations; for example, "Same Old Lie" is a straight-up protest song where James states in the second verse:
"it's the same old lie you been readin' 'bout
Bleedin' out, now who's getting cheated out?
You best believe it's the silent majority
If you don't vote, it's on you not me"

Jim James wants to be part of the political conversation, and his album, Eternally Even, will give his fans something to chew on just days before Election Day (Nov. 8). My takeaway from the album is that his message is one of optimism: Jim James has hope and really believes in the possibility of a peaceful and loving existence.

Eternally Even is out now, and Jim James will be performing at the State Theatre in Minneapolis on Dec. 1, 2016.


Jim James - official site

Jim James, 'Eternally Even' (Amazon, CD)

Jim James, 'Eternally Even' (Amazon, Vinyl LP)

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