I was listening to a new artist like I try to do, and it was fine but I kept thinking “it’s kind of like a flatter, less dynamic…M Ward.” Remember that guy? He’s probably best known as the guy from those Zooey Deschanel albums, or to Oberst-aficionadoes, the guy on that Monsters of Folk album that isn’t from My Morning Jacket.
And then I put on some M Ward, specifically his 2006 album Post War. I liked it when it came out, but hadn’t listened in a while and I maybe I was a little worried that it was going to plummet me back to being in my early 20s (it came out when I was 20), and I’d be just a sad shell for the duration of it playing, reliving my now-squandered young adulthood.
BUT it had been so long since I heard the record, and the way I listen to music has changed so much in the interim, that it was like I was hearing it for the first time. And what a fun record! Everything on it sounded so beautiful. And in moments grand! It’s definitely a pastiche sort of record—mostly drawing on Old Thyme genres—but man is having fun, pulling from deep and wide. He knows the contours of his [not limited, but let’s call it] idiosyncratic voice and the much wider range of his considerable guitar ability.
And, you know, it’s funny. I tried to remember listening to it, and something about M Ward always seemed so adult, so comfortable and confident, angst-less. It seemed almost like I was nostalgic when I listened to it back then, at 20, which doesn’t make sense, but it was like, all along, I was nostalgic for some night when I’d put it on in my thirties, tired from a long day of work, but in the big picture happy with my dog and my fiancée and adult-ish sort of life. Maybe it finally made more sense. Is there some foreign word for it?