Z (My Morning Jacket album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A blue and black drawing of three birds dissecting a fourth live bird who has a small city in place of organs
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 4, 2005 (2005-10-04)
RecordedAllaire Studios, Shokan, New York, United States
ProducerJohn Leckie, Jim James
My Morning Jacket chronology
Acoustic Citsuoca
Evil Urges
Singles from Z
  1. "Off the Record"
    Released: 2005
  2. "Gideon"
    Released: 2006

Z is the fourth studio album by psychedelic rock band My Morning Jacket. This collection features a much spacier and more polished sound than previous releases, making heavy use of synthesizers throughout and incorporating reggae and dub influences. The heavy reverb that was a defining characteristic of the band's prior recordings is largely absent. The songs on the album are more focused and shorter compared to the band's previous albums.

A double-live album, Okonokos, was recorded at the end of the Z Tour and was released on September 26, 2006; it features live versions of eight of Z's 10 songs.

In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 457 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[1] The magazine has also ranked the album 31st on its list of the 100 best albums of the 2000s[2] and 23rd of the 40 greatest stoner albums ever.[3]


Production was headed by John Leckie, famous for previous work with bands such as The Fall, The Stone Roses and Radiohead. This is the first My Morning Jacket album to feature a producer, as vocalist Jim James had assumed the production duties on the band's previous albums. The album marks another first, as the band recorded away from the Quaid family farm which had served as the inspiration for their first three albums. Instead, My Morning Jacket decided to record in New York's Allaire Studios, nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains. The change of scenery, influence of an experienced producer, and the addition of two new members contributed heavily to the transformation of the band's sound.


The album's first song, "Wordless Chorus", is a staple in the band's live performances and has been played live with musician Erykah Badu. Although the fourth track, "What a Wonderful Man" has an upbeat, happy sound, singer Jim James stated in Velocity that the song was written as a tribute to friend (and former bandmate) Aaron Todovich, who had committed suicide.[citation needed] The closing track, "Dondante", is also a tribute to his friend Aaron Todovich, as explained in the VH1 Storytellers performance of the track on June 3, 2011.[citation needed]

Digital rights management[edit]

The CD was one of the more high-profile releases in 2005 featuring digital rights management technology to prohibit owners from playing the music on a computer or creating digital copies. United States pressings of this CD contain MediaMax CD-3 by SunnComm.[4] The band's manager, Mike Martinovich, expressed their dissatisfaction with the technology and it was abandoned on subsequent releases.[5] The band themselves provided information on their website about how to bypass the software, and also offered to burn individual copies of the album for fans, free of copy-protection software.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[9]
The Guardian3/5 stars[10]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[11]
Mojo5/5 stars[12]
Q4/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[16]

The album was the second highest rated album of 2005 according to Metacritic, behind Sufjan Stevens' Illinois; the album has a total score of 90 out of 100.[18]

Technically, both Z and Illinois were tied for the highest Metacritic rating in 2005, with a score of 90 each. However, the score for Illinois was based on a larger overall number of reviews: 40, compared to 31 for Z.[19]

Online music magazine Pitchfork Media placed Z at number 146 on their list of top 200 albums of the 2000s, calling it My Morning Jacket's OK Computer.[20] In 2012, Rolling Stone ranked the album at number 457 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[1] The magazine has also ranked the album 31st on its list of the 100 best albums of the 2000s[2] and 23rd of the 40 greatest stoner albums ever.[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jim James, except where noted:

  1. "Wordless Chorus" – 4:12
  2. "It Beats 4 U" – 3:46
  3. "Gideon" – 3:39
  4. "What a Wonderful Man" – 2:25
  5. "Off the Record" (James, Tom Blankenship, Patrick Hallahan) – 5:33
  6. "Into the Woods" – 5:21
  7. "Anytime" – 3:56
  8. "Lay Low" – 6:05
  9. "Knot Comes Loose" – 4:02
  10. "Dondante" – 8:01

The U.S.and Japanese pressing of the album contains the B-side "Chills"; digital copies include the other b-side "How Could I Know" (length 5:27) as well.


My Morning Jacket
Additional musicians
  • Katie Beach
  • Guy Burwel
  • Nicolai Denchev
  • Mike Fulkerson
  • Brandon Jones
  • Kathleen Lolley

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
Worldwide October 4, 2005 (2005-10-04) Badman LP 947
United States ATO/RCA Compact Disc 71067
Europe BMG 21448
United States ATO 21601
Japan BMG 21448
2006 24078†
United States 2008 ATO LP 8808821601

†This edition includes the bonus track "Chills"


  1. ^ a b Wenner, Jann S., ed. (2012). Rolling Stone - Special Collectors Issue - The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. USA: Wenner Media Specials. ISBN 978-7098934196
  2. ^ a b "100 Best Albums of the 2000s". Rolling Stone. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b "The 40 Greatest Stoner Albums". Rolling Stone. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Are You Infected by Sony-BMG's Rootkit?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  5. ^ Brian Hiatt (2005-12-31). "Copy-Protection Troubles Grow". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  6. ^ James Montgomery (2005-12-16). "My Morning Jacket Tackle Copy-Protection Software Problems - By Burning CDs For Fans". MTV. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  7. ^ "Reviews for Z by My Morning Jacket". Metacritic. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  8. ^ Loftus, Johnny. "Z – My Morning Jacket". AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  9. ^ Sinclair, Tom (October 3, 2005). "Z". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  10. ^ Peschek, David (October 21, 2005). "My Morning Jacket, Z". The Guardian. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  11. ^ Cromelin, Richard (October 2, 2005). "It's easy to like cut of this Jacket". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  12. ^ "My Morning Jacket: Z". Mojo (143): 96. October 2005.
  13. ^ Martin, Rick (October 25, 2005). "My Morning Jacket: Z". NME. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  14. ^ Deusner, Stephen M. (October 6, 2005). "My Morning Jacket: Z". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  15. ^ "My Morning Jacket: Z". Q (232): 127. November 2005.
  16. ^ Fricke, David (October 20, 2005). "My Morning Jacket: Z". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 30, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2012.
  17. ^ Beaujon, Andrew (October 2005). "My Morning Macket: Z". Spin. 21 (10): 133. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  18. ^ "My Morning Jacket: Z (2005)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  19. ^ "Best Music and Albums for 2005". Metacritic. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  20. ^ "The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 200-151". Pitchfork Media. September 28, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009.

External links[edit]