This one came as a surprise – announced out of the blue in early August and on my front porch by September 14, like some kind of musical ninja. Pretty much all of the info I can find online about Morning In America is what Sub Pop communicated when announcing it. The seven songs were recorded during the Digital Garbage sessions. One is an alternate version, three are outtakes, and the other three are songs that have appeared on various singles and/or limited edition releases (one of these, “Ensam I Natt” is a Leather Nun cover).
America hates itself.
America hates itself.
America would rather be someplace else.
— “Morning In America”
Morning In America is definitely in the same vein as Digital Garbage, a disappointment-laden description of today’s America. Now, certainly not everyone in America is disappointed by how things have gone over the last few years. The racists seem to revel in being able to be out in the open with their views. Personally I was surprised to see so many of them crawl out of the woodwork, and while it’s disappointing, at least now we know who they are since they don’t seem to feel the need to hide anymore. Mark Arm casts his venomous net wide, covering the racists and ignorant, the liars and the corporate thieves, the zealots and the image-obsessed, while the sludgy and fuzz-drenched music carries the emotional content in viscous waves.
My heart is breaking,
My mind is racing,
And now I’m bracing
For the terrible things to come.
— “Vortex of Lies”
Sonically Morning In America is at times oppressive (“Morning In America”), but at others triumphant (“Let’s Kill Yourself Live Again”, a different version of “Kill Yourself Live”), though I suspect the latter is more ironic than literal. After all, the song is about the perceived importance of portraying the perfect digital image, regardless of what your real life is like. The only time the music doesn’t feel like an integral component of the overall message is on the cover, “Ensam I Natt” (“So Lonely Tonight”), a refreshingly straight-forward punk song reminiscent of Mudhoney’s early career (Mudhoney, like Green River before them, always pick great songs to cover and do them justice).
The Loser edition comes on white marbled vinyl and includes a download card. If you want a sample, you can stream “One Bad Actor” for free over at the Sub Pop website.