Editors’ Notes Since 2009’s solo album Hold Time, M. Ward has released collaborations with Zooey Deschanel (as She & Him), plus My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst (as Monsters of Folk). For his eighth solo affair, Ward strikes a masterful balance between sunny and shadowy songs, reflecting the beautiful range of emotions evoked by life itself. The collection starts with “Clean Slate,” a melodic and meditative confessional where he expounds on the wisdom gained by experience. The poetic folk-rocker segues into “Primitive Girl,” a rousing piano-peppered ditty with crashing drums. That song fades into what briefly sounds like a completely different track: a sparse, warm, and intimate breather that includes heart-touching lines that could’ve been written by Wordsworth. Ward’s characteristic fingerpicking decorates “Me and My Shadow,” the first of two collaborations with Deschanel (the latter is a rocking interpretation of Daniel Johnston’s “Sweetheart”). The charming, well-rounded collection also includes a cover of the jazz standard “I Get Ideas.”

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