M. Ward’s New Release ‘Hold Time’

By the time the best indie albums of 2009 lists start coming out later this year, today, February 17th, will surely be a day to remember.

That is because today marks the official release of a number of high anticipated, and for the most part, rewarding albums by some of indie music’s most popular artists, including M. Ward, Beirut, Morrissey, Robyn Hitchcock, Sing Fan Bous and Architecture in Helsinki, among many others. The most anticipated in my world was M. Ward’s newest release.

Wow! Brilliant! Addictive! Those are my initial reactions after listening to M. Ward’s new release (today, Feb. 17) Hold Time. If there is one album every music lover should hear in 2009, it is this one.

I’ll hedge a bet and say right here, right now that Hold Time will be, as the months pass, considered one of the best, if not the best, album of the year. Tonight he also appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.

M. Ward is a genius. His songs are masterfully composed and executed. He has splendid vocal capabilities and is clearly one of the best singer songwriters of the past decade. With Hold Time, Ward definitely locks in that honor.

One of the things I love about this album is that every song is brilliant and memorable, spanning an entire field of genres and styles that is a cornerstone of Ward’s musical appeal.

Whether they are upbeat country rock songs or dreamy folk pop ballads, Ward’s songs jump out and attach themselves to your ears, guiding you to turn up the volume, sit back and soak them up.
Rarely does an album come along in which every song on it is precious in it’s own way. Hold Time does just that. It is simply a masterpiece.

From beautiful duets on songs like “Oh Lonesome Me” with Lucinda Williams to “Rave On” with Zooey Deschanel, and catchy pop songs like “Stars of Leo” to country rock songs like “One Hundred Million Years” to the magical and dreamy love song and title track of the album.

“Never Had Nobody Like You”M. Ward from Hold Time (song Ward played on Lettermen tonight)

“Oh Lonesome Me”M. Ward from Hold Time on Merge Records

Other songs that are infectious and get better with each listen include “Shangri-La”, “Epistemology”, “Jailbird” and “For Beginners”, each of which could be a hit song on their own.

It’s hard to imagine that enough mind-blowing albums will be released in the next 9 plus months that will keep Hold Time out of the majority of Top 5 and Top Ten albums of 2009 lists that come out later this year. I would not be surprised at all if Hold Time is widely considered the best album of 2009 months from now.

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