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March 19th, 2009 · Luke · No Comments

Review of M. Ward’s Hold Time

Time, much like music, is described in many forms. Everyone has an opinion on time and how we perceive it. From a simple measurement between then and now, to a scientific theory on relativistic time versus Newtonian time. In M. Ward’s newest album Hold Time he has much to say about time. Nothing that will expand any scientific fields of research, but bits from the past and the future that can spin into a much longer yarn if you will your imagination to take you there.

The song “Never Had Nobody Like You” dwells for a short time on the past, but never so far back as to not see the person who’s standing right in front of him, shows how well this album has been crafted around it’s title. It’s almost novel-like in how there’s a loose narrative flowing throughout. This track features Zooey Deschanel and has some fantastically catchy guitar rifts and drum beats.

“One Hundred Million Years” is a simple love song that spans eons. The mellow sound that flutters from the guitar sets a soothing and lovely tone for the song. Which carries right over into the next track, “Stars of Leo.” Another love song, but this time a bit more heavy on the symbolism and wordplay. It does take a minute to build up to the real catchy rifts, but if you follow the narrative you can understand why.

While sifting through the lines in this album, I came to realize that he’s layered this album with many, many religious references. The first song “For Beginners” mentions Mount Zion and the original sinners, an obvious reference to Adam and Eve. “Jailbird” tells the haunting last moments of a prisoner on death row. And “Epistemology” which tells us how the singer, whether that be M. Ward or someone else, had found religion.

I liked this album, a lot. It showcases a lot of the reasons why I love M. Ward’s music so much. Haunting melodies, rolling guitars that make me dance in my seat, and fun catchy lyrics that I’ll sing along with. However, I can’t get past the fact that a few of the tracks sound vaguely similar to his past work. They have that simple touch of a few notes that make me think back on previous tracks, and then I come back to the tune at hand. It almost takes me out of the moment. But then, I’d be fooling myself if I didn’t think about those crazy power chord guitarist of the ‘80’s. Oh, how they loved to reuse so many chords.

The only criticism I have for this album is that the tracks are short. Much too short for my tastes, but Ward does put a lot of effort into squeezing his mind in each track. Another fifteen or so minutes could have really filled this one out, but then, we can’t all hold onto so much time like Ward does.

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