M. Ward | Transistor Radio
I often wonder how music critics come up with so much to say about an album. For instance, in Pitchfork’s review of Transistor Radio today, (reviewer) Joe Tangari says:
For a study of Ward’s songwriting ingenuity, just dive into “Paul’s Song” and listen to the way he leads the verse through a countryish backing, steel guitar straddling the line between Nashville and Honolulu.
You see? That’s well said. Or at least I’m tricked into thinking it’s well said. It’s enough to scare me away from trying my own serious record reviews. All that usually comes to my mind is, “This is good. Yum. Listen. I think.”
But wait (irony approaching). Let’s finish off the Pitchfork (Transistor Radio) review:
By now, I remember exactly why I’m writing about this stuff. Because it’s fun to get shamelessly giddy and lose yourself in the attempt to articulate your love for a piece of music, if describing it adequately bears the whiff of futility. Seriously, words will often inadequately describe great music, so let’s be direct: Listen to this. You will not regret it.
And while you’re doing so, explore the album further at Delusions of Adequacy…
Fondly honouring a time when the public service ethos of radio ran deep – an age where the otherworldly fuzz of AM ushered in the first waves of the blues, gospel, jazz, country, and embryonic rock ‘n roll – M(att) Ward has, for his fourth studio album, created this year’s most alluring concept album. Moreover, although he’s drafted in his biggest cache of Americana guest stars yet – including Howe Gelb, John Parish, Vic Chesnutt, Nick Luca, Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, and Jim James of My Morning Jacket – this is a collection that encapsulates a singular vision exclusively on Ward’s own terms.
Then buy it.
And see M Ward live with Norfolk and Western.