M. Ward: A Wasteland Companion
Style: Retro-styled pop, folk, and soul; compare to She & Him, Monsters of Folk, Will Oldham
Top tracks: "Clean Slate," "Pure Joy," "Watch the Show"
These days, many know M. Ward as one half of She & Him, his duo with actress Zooey Deschanel. And that's a shame, since Ward has been releasing stellar solo albums for years. This new one has fewer biblical references and epistemological musings than his previous release, but amid a smattering of pretty love songs there's still plenty to unpack musically and lyrically. Leadoff track "Clean Slate"—a beautiful, folky, fingerpicked number—is a quest for "the truth," while the title track finds him answering a metaphorical knock on the door to "see what it all is for." But perhaps his greatest distillation of the human condition comes when Ward says he's "stuck between what we have done and what we're gonna do."
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