Album Review: M. Ward—”A Wasteland Companion”

Story & Photos by Emily Scherzinger

M. Ward’s A Wasteland Companion forces you into a world of cars, perpetual summer, and transistor radios. This album helps you imagine beautiful, nostalgic moments – the first time you made out in the backseat of a car, all the time you spent biking around your neighbourhood on a summer day, or the warmth of the orange sun leaking through your eyelids as you lay under a big tree. With this, M. Ward has released an album full of the stuff that rich, humid summer days are made of, especially apparent in the highlights of the album; “Primitive Girl,” “The First Time I Ran Away,” and the title track; which are sandwiched between two beautiful songs, “Clean Slate” and “Pure Joy,” the ending being as sweet as honey that is tasted the moment it’s harvested.

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If this album proves nothing else, it demonstrates that M. Ward is extremely talented in stirring up beautiful emotions – I want to take his songs and pour them into a jar and keep them forever and ever like some people keep photo albums. But this album began to make me wonder how much longer he can go on with his schtick. While I can appreciate the simple backgrounds in Ward’s songs that create a great basis for his beautiful lyrics, I’m noticing that, as a faithful fan of Ward, I am starting to grow tired of his gravelly voice singing the same sorts of songs over and over again. His voice and intonations are the same for virtually every song on each of his albums, and the songs start to blur together after a while, including on his new album. “Watch the Show,” “There’s A Key,” and “Crawl After You” are all typical M. Ward songs, and I found myself wondering whether I had listened to a song before.

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There’s no denying that M. Ward has created another great album in A Wasteland Companion that exhibits his musical talent. He has found a great niche to gear his music towards and has found great success in doing so, but if he does not change it up then he’s going to lose some faithful and bored fans.

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