Buffett’s new album debuts at #2 on Billboard’s 200

From Billboard.com: At No. 2 on the new Billboard 200, Jimmy Buffett lands his highest-charting album in over 15 years, as Life on the Flip Side starts with 75,000 equivalent album units earned (with 74,000 of that sum in album sales). The last time the veteran singer-songwriter (and Margaritaville brand boss) was higher on the list was in 2004, when License to Chill became his first No. 1 when it opened atop the chart dated July 31, 2004.

Life on the Flip Side is Buffett’s 40th charting album on the Billboard 200. He first visited the list in 1974 with Living and Dying in 3/4 Time, which arrived on the March 2 chart, on its way to a No. 176 peak on March 30. In total, Life On the Flip Side is Buffett’s 22nd top 40 album, and 12th top 10.

Life on the Flip Side is Buffett’s first non-holiday studio album since Songs From St. Somewhere, which hit No. 4 in 2013.

The new album’s sales were helped by a concert ticket/album sale redemption offer with a slate of upcoming Buffett shows. The bundle offer was originally attached to a string of dates that were meant to run from May 16 through Oct. 15, 2020. Some of those shows were ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, while the remaining shows were postponed and rescheduled to July 10 through Sept. 2, 2021. Only the postponed and rescheduled shows are part of the ticket bundle offer which contributes to the chart total.

Buffett’s new album “Life on the Flip Side” available today

Jimmy Buffett’s new album “Life on the Flip Side” is now available at Amazon.com.

Rolling Stone has an interview with Jimmy Buffett discussing the return of concerts, his new album, his early days, and much more from his Malibu home

“I came to Key West [Florida] with a little bit of luggage and a lot of songs,” says Jimmy Buffett, who talks about his entire career, including its earliest days, in a wide-ranging conversation with senior writer Brian Hiatt on the latest episode of the Rolling Stone Interview: Special Edition video series. Buffett is riding out lockdown in a “little trailer” he owns on the coast of California, in Malibu, a situation he compares to the days when he’d live on a boat for months on end.

During the exclusive interview, Buffett breaks down his new album, Life on the Flip Side, explaining that he intended it to reflect the spirit of his beloved first three LPs. “I went back and listened to those a lot,” he says. He recalls hanging out with Hunter S. Thompson and Bob Dylan; muses on his business success; recalls his short-lived career as a music journalist; discusses the origins of classic songs, including “Margaritaville,” “Come Monday,” “Death of an Unpopular Poet”; and explains how he realized it was time to cut back on his partying around the time he turned 40.

Buffett talks about his new album in USA Today interview

From USA Today: Jimmy Buffett talks releasing a new album during a pandemic and why he stopped drinking margaritas

True to character, Jimmy Buffett’s quarantine has consisted of playing guitar, practicing French and spending time out on the water with his family in southern California.

But one thing it does not include is margaritas. In 2018, the beach bum icon sent shock waves through Margaritaville when he revealed he no longer imbibes his signature drink. Instead, he prefers straight tequila on the rocks, and typically only on weekends.

“Margaritas have gotten very sweet. I like real lime juice; I don’t like a lot of sugar,” Buffett tells USA TODAY. “The other day I was watching ‘Queer Eye’ and they were doing a makeover, and the guy had what he called a Redneck Margarita, which was just bad tequila and Mountain Dew. And I went, ‘That’s way too far, I’d never do that.’ But good tequila and a lime, yes.”

Regardless of what’s under his cocktail umbrella, Buffett is the same master storyteller we’ve known for five decades on new album “Life on the Flip Side,” out Friday, his first album since 2013’s “Songs from St. Somewhere.”

The music is a return to the “Key West phase” of Buffett’s early ’70s albums, which spawned hits including “Come Monday” and “Grapefruit – Juicy Fruit,” and featured playful lyrics about finding love in paradise, years before cheeseburgers hit the menu. The album’s 14 songs cover expected Buffett terrain – lazy beach days (“Who Gets to Live Like This”) and wine-soaked nights (“Half Drunk”) – but also hit on more poignant subjects that resonate differently during a global pandemic.

“Live Like It’s Your Last Day,” for instance, was inspired by the singer’s past experiences with a 1994 plane crash and 2011 stage fall.

“I’ve had a couple close calls and I’m still here, so I think I’ve been living like it could be my last day for a long time,” says Buffett, 73. “I would just write out of personal experience, and all of a sudden, along comes a pandemic and a lot of other people can (relate). But that’s what songs are for, and I think that’ll happen with some of these songs.”

Buffett recorded the album earlier this year in Key West, Florida, with his Coral Reefer Band, to coincide with a sprawling U.S. tour this spring and summer. The dates were soon postponed due to coronavirus concerns, and his team considered delaying the album’s release as well.

“Jimmy, however, was the first to shut down that thinking,” says Mac McAnally, Buffett’s longtime co-writer and bandmate. “Since we can’t be there in person in this pandemic, he wants to be there to lift spirits any other way possible. Jimmy’s been making folks smile for several decades and continuing that tradition is much more important than maximizing any marketing plan. That’s one of the things I like most about him and our whole organization: We’re like a traveling circus with guitars.”

In lieu of live shows, Buffett has embarked on a so-called “virtual tour”: rebroadcasting archived concerts on his website and SiriusXM radio station every Wednesday and Saturday night. His devoted fans – collectively known as Parrotheads – often share pictures of themselves on social media “tailgating” in their living rooms and backyards, wearing bathing suits and flower leis as they drink and dance along.

“In the middle of dealing with tragedy, you have to have a little bit of fun and that’s really apparent in the people who are loyal fans of ours,” Buffett says. “We’ve always had the ability as Americans to solve problems. I’m not very keen on any of the political situations happening with it, but I believe in the intelligence of some of the people out there with the funds and wherewithal to get through this.”

As for Trump’s handling of the pandemic, “Let’s just say I knew him in Florida and he hasn’t changed since then,” Buffett adds.

And although the future of live music seems grim – with experts predicting concerts and festivals won’t return until next year – the music mogul says he has no problem playing to much smaller crowds in order to keep fans safe. He points to a 2014 show he performed at a drive-in theater in Fort Worth, Texas, long before that became a socially distant trend.

At the start of the pandemic, “people asked me, ‘Would you really go out and play to 10 or 20 people?’ And I said, ‘I’ve played bars where nobody showed up but the bartenders and waitresses,’ ” Buffett says. “If you’re not a performer who really loves what you do, then you don’t understand that it doesn’t matter if two people or 2,000 people are listening. They’re going to get the same show.”

Review: Jimmy Buffett brings sunshine into our darkness

From ABCNews.com: Jimmy Buffett’s first studio record in seven years arrives as the nation reels from a pandemic

Jimmy Buffett’s first studio record in seven years arrives with equal parts seduction and absurdity.

Coming just as we crave a margarita in a mason jar, sand in our toes and the salty wind of the ocean, Buffett’s beach bum life — often mocked — has never been so aspirational. What we wouldn’t do right now to join a goofy conga line.

The 14-track “Life on the Flip Side” is no departure from what Parrotheads have come to expect — that special Gulf Coast mix of country, pop, folk and rock, topped by Buffett’s swaying voice. Few can mix steelpans, trombones and pedal steel guitar so effortlessly.

Though the songs were written before the global pandemic, the album nods to our viral troubles. Buffett writes that he’d like them to be the soundtrack as we claw our way to normalcy. Think of it as the flip side of COVID-19.

“Hopefully, the songs we wrote and recorded, will also help folks deal with the fallout,” he writes in the liner notes. “There will be a time and a place when we emerge from these troubled waters and things will change for the better.”

Buffett’s incredible ear for hooks and light grooves are often overshadowed by his lyrics about fish tacos and sunsets, but don’t underestimate his song skills. Many of these tunes are destined to be played two generations from now at sandy beach-side snack bars. Will we be wearing masks still?

Produced by two members of his longtime backing band, Michael Utley and Mac McAnally, Buffett is also clearly having fun on the new album, including the jokey ditty “Cussin’ Island” where he rhymes “hypocrite” with “Messerschmitt.”

He salutes the folk who take the time to look around in “The Slow Lane” and mourns that so much of his surfing is on a website (“Hey, That’s My Wave”). He seamlessly mixes salsa and mambo for “15 Cuban Minutes” and gets jazzy in “Half Drunk.” The only song on the album that doesn’t quite fit in Margaritaville is his cover of Paul Brady’s “The World Is What You Make It,” which wanders too far lyrically and musically from the rest.

Toward the end of the album, Buffett treads carefully into Tropical House with the superb “Live, Like It’s Your Last Day,” which has lyrics seemingly perfect for this pandemic. “Live like it’s your last day/Time just keeps slippin’ away.” You’ll sing along with Buffett — and wish.

Buffett’s new album “Life on the Flip Side” to be released May 29th

Parrotheads will have something special to cheer about when Jimmy Buffett’s first studio record in seven years, Life On The Flip Side, is released on May 29, 2020 on Mailboat Records.

Produced by long-time Coral Reefers Michael Utley and Mac McAnally, the record contains 14 new songs, including “Down At The Lah De Dah” which will be given out early to those who pre-order the album.

A companion lyric video for “Down At The Lah De Dah” has been released:

Life on the Flip Side is now available for pre-order at all digital outlets and mailboatrecords.com. The Mailboat pre-order offers special exclusive bundles, with profits to benefit Covid-19 relief funds. 

The CD includes a 60+ page booklet featuring exclusive content including lyrics, special photos from Jimmy’s collection, his stories behind the songs, and more.

Special guests include Paul Brady, Lukas Nelson, Will Kimbrough and Enrique Murciano. Paul Brady, who duets with Jimmy on “The World Is What You Make It“ is a prolific Irish singer/songwriter who performed on tour with Jimmy last year in London and Dublin. 

Jimmy performed some of the new songs earlier in the year, surprising fans with a special show in Key West in January. Despite the push back of the tour due to the current events, Jimmy felt strongly that he wanted to release this music now in hopes that these songs will help people relax and aid us through these troubling times. 

To further connect with fans, Jimmy recently did a fan chat on Zoom with about 20 Parrotheads from all over the world asking a variety of interesting questions, and did a second chat for medical and frontline workers where he was joined by Lukas Nelson and Mac McAnally. 

Throughout April and May, Sirius XM’s Radio Margaritaville will be premiering tracks from the upcoming release. Sirius XM is currently offering free listening through May 15th.