"TO KEEP THE LOSS ALIVE AND BEHIND ME." Life is a series of significant discoveries that are really not worth having at all. Your friends consistently talk behind your back, people remain poor, politics is immobile, our own families are borderline racist, socializing is a circuit of disaster, wretchedness reigns. Dishonesty and pangs, broken and contrite hearts, ignominy, sorrow, sufferings, and deaths always. Tomorrow mornings for the rest of your life. A succession of imperceptible and unnameable losses, like the imaginary-negative movement of an hour hand. What a downer, huh?
One such indeterminate loss animates M. Ward's latest album, just as fire makes a body of the match. "I REMEMBER BLIND JOE DEATH." To keep the loss alive and behind him, M. Ward has recorded his latest album. A rhetoric of the possible, kaironomia, M. Ward's songs sing happy and elusive, plaintive, a ghostly power. No one sounded happier ("Helicopter"). No one sounded sadder ("Let's Dance," "Poor Boy, Minor Key"). No one sounded more alive. Did anyone sound so little as if they were grieving? "I'M WAITING FOR A SIGN, O IT LOOKS JUST LIKE ANOTHER LINE." An album's hauntonomy is so rarely accessible but seductive in glimpses, those bits of the everyday that have gone into making it what it is (the death revealed in the sleevenotes). Every recording's an indecipherable mathematics of tedious creativity (death is banal too, y'know).
So we're all left, like listeners, to make sense of our own emotions. Seul contre tous, ha! I have emotions. I love you M. Ward (that's 1) though sometimes you make me sad (2) but mostly you make me happy (3) happy (4) happy (5) and then I smile (5.5) or grin (6) as I walk down the street or sit languid (7) on train platforms into town, thinking about what you're doing now. ("Is he thinking about me?")
People like you, singer/songwriters I guess, normally bore me vertical. I love
how your guitar sounds really old when it's probably just slightly de-tuned and
played far from the mic. Or how your wispy singing sounds like you've doubled
up the vocals. I used to make a game of your initial, I liked making up
letters to sit in between the "M" and dot. I have screeds of these jotted in
my notebook: "ichael," "isery," "iserly," "artin,' etc. I found out early that
you already had the slightly boring "att" as backup, but I carried on regardless.
(I'm sure he isn't reading but this is the way I talk to myself.) I love you
and your album, M. Ward.