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Hold Time, M. Ward

MWHoldTime.jpgListened to this just one time... Not my style.

A whole lot more country than I expected it to be — "Americana" I guess it could be called. Didn't really know what to expect from this. I've never heard M. Ward before. Just knew that he was an NPR/indie-rock darling, and I thought that I'd give him a chance.

There were a couple of okay songs — the more rock ones. But this isn't anything I care to listen to again. I've been hearing songs from this album at work on the In-Store Play. And hearing a song by itself in the background of my work day, I find myself kind of liking it. But when I tried to sit down with the whole album, it just turned out to be too much for me... The strangest part of listening to this, being that, I'm pretty sure every song ended by fading-out except for one.

Good guitar sounds, and very minimalist production, for the most part. I like the vocal harmonies between he and Zooey Deshanel, but from what I've heard of the album they did together as She & Him, it didn't impress me.

I officially don't understand M. Ward, or his appeal, and that's okay with me...

It's Not Me, It's You, Lily Allen

Lilyitsnotmesleeve.jpgThis is a melody based album, as opposed to her first album which was beat based. Singing replacing rap — the much dreaded "Artistic Growth" that many bands/musicians struggle with... Do you keep going along the same road you have always traveled, or do you venture off into uncharted territory in order to try to fulfill the creative pangs in your spirit?...

You can tell that there has been a period of growth in her career. Her life. There's lots of social commentary and looking at the world. Calling out on a whole bunch of bullshit. Brash and not liberal with the subtlety or artistic nuance... And that's how you can tell that she is still young.

I see the move away from rapping to more of a solid pop sound as a transition — evidence of her maturing. She still has her sense of humor — come on, a fucking banjo in one song ("Not Fair"). And she still has her potty-mouth. So I guess that these are just the things that make her who she is.

This definitely has the sort of lack of energy common in many Second Albums... While there are all the earmarks of more time and money being invested — more elaborate production than Allen's previous release and the experimental nature in the sound that has resulted — I just can't hear confidence in these songs. But as a young artist, I guess she gets a pass for that.

This album — and actually, all of Lily Allen's music — feels like a guilty pleasure for me. But really, shouldns't all music be pleasurable? Isn't that something we're all guilty of?

Favorite Tracks: "Not Fair", "Back To The Start", "Chinese", "Him" and "The Fear (Acoustic)"...

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