Thursday, March 5, 2009

What I'm Listening To - Hold Time by M. Ward

People tell me M. Ward is some kind of musical genius.

I wasn't convinced after She and Him Volume I, to me the worst album of 2008. The only thing I imagine is worse is that there will inevitably be a Volume Two.

But my hate aside, people I respect say give M. Ward another chance. And I did, cos I'm a man of forgiveness and mercy.

Ward's latest album, Hold Time, validates the praise. This album is gorgeous. You can tell he has an affection of that gauzy, fuzzy pop music of the 70's. And he achieves an impressive work of pastiche with this album. The guitars sing. He didn't shy away from huge production values (background singers, full throated orchestra on "To Save Me"). The fuzzy guitars of "Never Had Nobody Like You" (with the suprisingly pleasant background vocals of Zooey Deschanel). The waves and swells of the title track. Stripped down this is not. It sounds as if Brian Wilson let loose a bottle of Pet Sounds and stepped in behind the boards.

He also affects a pretty solid country persona too. The best song on the album might be his duet with Lucinda Williams, "Oh Lonesome Me." I don't know why, but this song just makes me happy. And it's such a sad song.

Same thing for "For Beginners." He opens the album with this trudging singing, yet it's haunting fade out only beckons for more.

2009 is shaping up well. I recommend picking this one up to usher you into spring.
BONUS: Check out M. Ward tonight March 6, on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Get "Hold Time" by M. Ward

1 comment:

Adam said...

"In an interview on October 8th, 2008 with paste magazine, M. Ward announced that She & Him are currently working on volume two. When asked about the album Ward said "Zooey has about a gazillion brand new awesome songs. All we know about Volume Two is that it's going to be twice as good as Volume One."

I can't wait.