Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best Albums of 2009 No. 10 - M. Ward's Hold Time

I want to give it up for M. Ward. With Hold Time, he has made me finally in some small measure appreciate and even love Zooey Deschanel's voice. But M. Ward is doing more here than making me into less of a She & Him hater.

With Hold Time, M. Ward is giving us his own thesis on American rock n'roll, in what the entire time has been his own personal master class on the subject.

There's the dreamy cover of Buddy Holly's Rave On (again, the furture Mrs. Gibbard singing backup). But why ape when you can create your own? He channels Jerry Lee Lewis with To Save Me, with frenetic piano playing, but still there is Ward, crooning - "Save from sailing over the edge" and doo doo dooing in the background.

There's the ghost of The Man in Black hanging over Fisher of Men (complete with not so oblique biblical references). And Phil Spector's Wall of Sound is there always, asking if this could be any louder (seriously, is he just banging stuff on his chords on the last song?).

But when he somehow melds them all together, it works. Stars of Leo, Never Had Nobody Like You, Jailbird - these are the real true keepers you'll find yourself going to again and again.

M. Ward hits magic twice on this album. He makes all the songs hang together. And he makes me kinda sort of look forward to She & Him Volume 2.

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