I've only had a chance this week to listen to a small number of new releases. When you consider each new album probably has a 45 minute-plus runtime, it's easy to see the difficulty of the task. This is why newspapers and magazines have full-time staff members dedicated exclusively to reviewing new albums.
So this week, I'd like to draw your attention to the latest album from one of my favorite artists today: Josh Ritter. His new album is entitled The Beast in its Tracks and you can...
Get it on iTunes here:
Or consider buying the exclusive B&N edition with a special lyrics journal insert:
Track one is classic Ritter: "night" is in the lyrics and the vocals are doused in reverb. But 55 seconds later, we really get cooking. It's obvious from the start that Josh has heartbreak on his mind, but it's not the kind of turn-off that we've come to know in break-up songs.
As a whole, lyrically, the album comes off in a similar way as Andrew Osenga's Leonard, the Lonely Astronaut (although each artist approaches their subject from different vantage points and ultimately draw different conclusions). Both Ritter and Osenga leave listeners - me - longing to recapture a relational emotion or state of being that has long since begun to wane.
I hate when songwriters are marketed as "thought-provoking" or "honest" or any other cliche about possessing a higher level of poetic- or song-craft. Though they tend to be true, these cliches dumb down the really good songwriters into some sort of quantifiable, understandable category. As a songwriter myself, I don't find the adjectives helpful because they tend not to be unique to music.
But Josh Ritter comes off to me as human - and relatable. Reading his own history makes it easy to see why his songs resonate this way with me and many others. He's a pretty normal guy from... Idaho?
So go check out his new record, and if you find yourself listening to the lyrics more than your average Bruno Mars pop song, consider checking out his other records, too. I don't think you'll be disappointed.