Jim James radiated Tuesday on The Late Late Show with James Corden, performing mellow solo cut, “The World’s Smiling Now.” Highlighted by the funky keys of My Morning Jacket bandmate Bo Koster, James crooned lyrics that blur the line between romantic plea and social protest: “How long does a good thing last?/ Can we avoid mistakes from the past?” As the song built to a soulful climax, the singer-songwriter played a bluesy guitar solo.
“The World’s Smiling Now” is from James’ second solo LP, 2016’s Eternally Even. In November, he promoted the album with a psychedelic video for single “Here in Spirit.” James explained to Rolling Stone that he began work on the album by parsing through unused, improvised material he had for an abandoned film score project. “It turned into a happy accident.”
The singer-songwriter also updated us on My Morning Jacket’s in-the-works new LP, which he expects – at least for now – to be more hard-hitting than the band’s recent material. “There’s something propulsive or rock & roll about [the songs],” James said. “That’s how it feels now. But as I know from past records, I can’t even say that’s how it’ll end up. You’ll walk in with these rock & roll songs, and you’ll walk out with a record of the saddest, dreamiest ballads.”