Five years after My Morning Jacket released The Waterfall, the COVID-19 lockdown inspired the band's lead singer, Jim James, to put the finishing touches to its sequel. The second half of around 25 songs recorded at a hilltop mansion in the California coastal town of Stinson Beach, Waterfall II shares the same central theme as The Waterfall of rebirth and renewal.
Jim James took several walks in Muir Woods, an old-growth coastal redwood forest, during the recording of The Waterfall and The Waterfall II. He explained to Apple Music that he'd written the main riff for "Feel You" in Kentucky before departing to Stinson Beach, but was seeking inspiration for the rest of the instrumentation and the lyrics. He felt that being in those woods would be his muse, and nature did indeed give him what he was looking for. "A lot of the instrumentation and a lot of the ending and a lot of the space in the song - I feel like really was downloaded from the tree," said James.
Lyrically, this is about the need to slow down and just "feel" the natural world. James explained it's about "what I consider to be the good way to waste time: to just take time, to do nothing basically, to experience the forest or experience the ocean, because I feel like we're all constantly trying to do things and trying to fill our time with activities and keep it moving. But I think we forget to just take time to just not do anything."
My Morning Jacket nabbed their first #1 on any Billboard chart when "Feel You" topped Adult Alternative Songs.