My Morning Jacket
My Morning Jacket were always far more informed by 1970s commercial rock than the vast majority of their indie rock peers, but they reach new heights in that influence in "I'm Amazed," which begins with big drums and guitar noodling before Jim James bursts in with a Southern rock scream: "I'm amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazed at the quiet ocean."
It's a political song, I guess, as James finds himself amazed "by the divided nation" and "the lack of evolution." But its message, as is true of so many songs this year, comes second to the sound of the song. It bobs and weaves, anchored by heavy bass and what sounds like a clavichord (although it could just be a distorted guitar) but buoyed at nearly all times by James' vocals.
And given the '70s influence on the song, you shouldn't be surprised (or amazed) by James' rock scream at the end of the second verse or by the Skynyrd guitar solo throughout. This song sounds like the best musical moments from my childhood; it doesn't sound anything like Dobie Gray's version of "Drift Away," but that's what it feels like to me: hearing Gray plead for the beat in the front seat of my father's company car as we were on the way to some trout farm or another.