“Regularly Scheduled Programming” starts with a swooning intro but soon settles into a sprightly beat that builds to a rich, chaotic and ultimately cathartic conclusion. The song finds frontman Jim James contending with the trappings of modernity: “Programming to drown out how we feel,” he sings, “Fresh fiction, rewriting how we think/Screen time addiction, replacing real life and love/Erasing forgiveness/Bow down to your overlords.”
The song arrives with a music video, directed by James and George Mays, that complements the song’s message. It finds My Morning Jacket cruising through a gorgeous desert landscape, but focusing solely on their phones and products. They escape only coming after James chugs a bunch of pills and the car crashes.
“This song really hits home for me after what we’ve gone through with the pandemic,” James said in a statement. “But even before then, it felt like so many of us were trading real life for social media, trading our own stories for the storylines on TV, trading our consciousness for drugs. We need to help each other wake up to real love before it’s too late.”
My Morning Jacket will mark the band’s first album of all new material since 2015’s The Waterfall (a sequel to that record, The Waterfall II, featuring unreleased music from the same sessions, arrived last July). The album was recorded at 64 Sound in Los Angeles, with James serving as producer and engineer.
“I hope this album brings people a lot of joy and relief, especially since we’ve all been cooped up for so long,” James said. “I know that feeling you get from driving around blasting music you love, or even lying in bed and crying to the music you love. The fact that we’re able to be a part of people’s lives in that way is so magical to us, and it feels really good that we’re still.”
My Morning Jacket are scheduled to launch a North American tour in a few days: The run kicks off August 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will continue with scattered dates all the way through a run of New Year’s shows in Denver, Colorado, December 29th through 31st.