Saturday, March 09, 2013

Josh Ritter - The Beast in its Tracks

This past Tuesday (March 5), both Josh Ritter & Kate Nash released their new albums.
I'll get to Nash very soon.
Right now, it's time for Ritter.

Josh Ritter is consistently one of my favorite songwriters.  He started his career at an extremely high level, and only seems to be getting better, which is very impressive.
And he needed to be at the top of his game for this album.  It's not easy to write a break-up album, especially when that break-up came in the form of a divorce.  It's too easy for the songs to be angry and bitter.  It's too easy to write about how you've been done wrong.  There have been great break-up albums, but there have been a lot of terrible ones, too.

This is one of the good ones.
This is Ritter at the top of his powers.  Even his angry lyrics are poetically bitter.  Behind the sadness, there is an overwhelming feeling of optimism.  There's anger.  There's regret.  And, when he points the finger, it's rare if he's not also placing some of the blame on himself.

Here are a handful of my favorite lines from this album:

"I hope you got a lover now, you got somebody who
Can give you what you need, like I couldn't seem to do
But if you're sad and you are lonesome, and you got nobody true
I'd be lying if I said that didn't make me happy, too."
[From "New Lover"]

"She went away and took all her love
And I could not believe how little there was"
[From "Hopeful"]

"These days I'm feeling better about the man that I am
There's things I can't change and there's others I can."
[From "Hopeful"]

"There is pain in whatever
We stumble upon
If I'd never have met you
You couldn't have gone
But then I'd never have met you
And we couldn't have been
I guess it all adds up
To joy in the end"
[From "Joy to You Baby"]

If I felt like it, I could really just type up the entire album.

This is a devastatingly beautiful album.  In a career full of amazing albums, this may be his best.

Favorite track: "Hopeful"
Rating: 5/5

Last of all, check out this video for "New Lover".  It's terrific.

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