Review Summary: Don Draper would totally bang to this...........
In 2008 Barack Obama ran off the simple campaign slogan of "Change" and he promised to change everything about America from politics to even individual culture. One thing Barack (we have a first name relationship) could not even say he was going to change was music and the technology that helped make it. That had already changed completely and was continuing to evolve on almost daily. This was both a good and a bad thing for the music industry. For one thing Indie, electronica, and techno acts were combining layers of music that we had previously thought were impossible. But there was also the fact that it was hard to pick out what musicians were actually talented anymore and what one's were simply marketing tools with catchy singles. It was getting hard to decipher what artists we would remember ten years later or even two months later.
With all the advances in technology one would have to think that it would take a musical act of pure Jesus for something to be considered the most original album of the decade. You would think that in this era of technology this album would essentially have to be in 3-D or made by Aliens or something. But the more I thought about it the more I thought maybe the technology and new discoveries were being used so much that they were becoming unoriginal. Maybe a more simplistic album could be considered one of the more original albums of the decade. That's why I propose that M. Ward's "Post-War" a mostly acoustic tribute to 1940's-1960's folk maybe one of the more original offerings we have.
The album is not only original it is excellent. One of the first things that makes it excellent is the instrumental work. The album sounds so relaxed and it never feels overproduced or forced. The instrumentation makes you think of simpler times like you are just listening to a folk singer play for pennies on a New York bridge in the early 1950's. Like this guy singing is not some mega pop superstar that we will never actually get to meet but somebody we see when we are going to work everyday. Someone who we considered part of our culture and someone who's friendship we cherish. It is nearly impossible for an artist to give his audience these feelings in the culture we have created in the 21st century but M. Ward does this with his acoustic sound on this album. Also the guitar work is very good to the point we have to consider M. Ward one of the elite musicians of today’s music scene and when drums or electric guitar are actually used they do not kill the distinct feel of the album. The instrumentation on this album is excellent and original.
The second thing that makes this an excellent listen has to be the songwriting and the style of songwriting. M. Ward's storytelling is one of his best qualities and is what makes him one of the unique artists in folk today. While Bon Iver's folk masterpiece sang of isolation and distance from love, M. Ward goes the route that is surprsingly harder and tries to define love and what it is exactly. While Oberst sings about the effects of politics and culture on his individual life, Ward sings about escaping from the burdens of politics and culture. Wards songwriting doesn't seem to follow any distinct rhyme schemes but you can tell the songwriting is full of symbolism and just about every song has a quotable lyric. The other thing that is special about the lyrics is how the perfectly match the atmosphere created by the instrumentation. They never seemed forced and this makes them even more special. The songwriting on this album does a great job of storytelling and matching the unique feel that the instrumental work gives us.
This album gives you a very relaxed and a atmosphere that reminds us of simpler times. And in our recession based economy and our culture that is based so heavily on technology that we struggle to make conversation that does not end in smiley face it is fitting that a folk tribute to the mid 1900's becomes one of the previous decades most original albums. Ward not only makes an original album but he makes an album that is brilliantly composed and written. If the world gives you chaos the simplicity of M. Ward is just a click away on your I tunes or your I phone. Kind of ironic isn't it?