M. Ward Review: A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward

A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward A Wasteland Companion album cover art

Over the past few years, Portland singer/songwriter Matt Ward (aka M.Ward) has become more famous for his various side projects than his own solo career. Ward sat in the backseat in his retro pop project She & Him with “New Girl” Zooey Deschanel, and he also didn’t get much limelight when he took part in Monsters of Folk, the super group folk trio formed with better known folksters Conor Oberst (aka Bright Eyes) and Jim James (of My Morning Jacket fame). While lesser known in each project, M. Ward was no less vital and I would even argue he is more responsible for Zooey’s musical success than Zooey herself for helping coach, produce, and craft her songs. Now, a couple side projects later, M. Ward releases his first solo album in three years, A Wasteland Companion, an album that is unmistakably M. Ward but doesn’t quite reach the heights of his best efforts.
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A Very She & Him Christmas Review

She & Him

A Very She & Him Christmas

She & Him Christmas Album Cover

While she had undoubtedly some small memorable roles before it, Zooey Deschanel’s shower duet with Will Ferrell in Elf of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” was in many ways a declaration of her multi-talented persona. Since, she has starred in big summer comedies (500 Days of Summer, Yes Man), put out two solid retro-pop albums of originals and standards with M. Ward under the She & Him moniker, and most recently, starred in the clichéd yet pleasant new sitcom New Girl. So now at the height of Zooey mania, the quirky star returns to Christmas with what seems like a perfect fit in A Very She & Him Christmas. However, while racked with its share of nice renditions of standards, A Very She & Him Christmas is more like a lukewarm cup of hot chocolate; sweet but stale.
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