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Two years and a pair of band members have passed since My Morning Jacket's last album, and the respite seems to have reinvented the Louisville, Ky., band and its leader Jim James. Shelved are the boogie-soaked country and hard-stomping metal of the first three records--assuring that all links to Lynyrd Skynyrd are hereby obsolete--and the sleek maturation of James's wailing, echoing falsetto may have even nullified the Neil Young comparisons. Using the guitar as a complement more than as a weapon, songwriter James has simplified the sound where keyboards take the lead and choruses play like a '70s AM radio. While songs like "Anytime" and "What a Wonderful Man" channel the old MMJ sound, they do so with less chaos and more spontaneity. That's the trend for the record's best: "Wordless Chorus" and its infectious "aaaah" refrain, the Hawaii Five-O-riffed ska of "Off the Record" and a Stranglers-minded carnival waltz, "Into the Woods." Serving as a pop-music paradigm that change is good, Z is ambitious, groundbreaking and downright impeccable. --Scott Holter
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*SEALED* Jacket still sealed in shrink original wrap; disc sold ungraded or "as is."
NM (Near Mint) Appears unplayed and will bear no marks, sleeve scuffs, or scratches.
EX+ (Excellent) May have one or two visible imperfections (i.e. sleeve scuffs, faint scratches, or other superficial marks) that will not affect playback.
VG+ (Very Good+) A few visible imperfections. These may include sleeve scuffs, light scratches, or other superficial marks.
VG (Very Good) Similar imperfections found on VG+ records but in slightly greater numbers. Records graded VG and above will typically not have any scratches that are deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
VG- (Very Good-) A number of visible imperfections; the presence of a considerable number of light scratches will force a VG- grade, as will the presence of significant isolated defects such as scratches deep enough to be felt with a fingernail.
G (Good) Record can be played without skipping, but will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. G+ and G- are used to indicate stronger and weaker copies within this range.
*SW/DNAP* Slight warp, does not affect playback
*QUAD* Quadraphonic Sound, similar to today’s surround sound
All records are visually graded by our experienced staff, using a bright lamp and an Audio-Technica ATLP-120 turntable.