A Wasteland Companion
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A Wasteland Companion

April 10, 2012

  Song Title
Clean Slate
Primitive Girl
Me And My Shadow
I Get Ideas
The First Time I Ran Away
A Wasteland Companion
Watch The Show
There's A Key
Crawl After You
Wild Goose
Pure Joy

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • Label: Merge Records
  • Copyright: 2012 Merge Records
  • Total Length: 36:43
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B007Q5D2MA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,964 Paid in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 Paid in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back around the campfire with M. Ward April 10, 2012
Format:Audio CD
For those only familiar with Matthew Ward's work as the Him in Zooey Deschanel's pastiche to `60s pop and aw-shucks charm in She & Him, A Wasteland Companion opener "Clean Slate (For Alex & El Goodo)" is probably a bit of a curveball. Yet after years of working behind the curtain in both She & Him and with more outspoken rock revivalists Conor Oberst, Jim James and Mike Mogis in the Monsters of Folk, this is the M. Ward longtime fans will be delighted to hear - Ward's husky, ashen voice ruminating over barely there acoustic strumming, losing itself in the simple campfire pleasures of storytelling and the barely there hiss of an AM radio. Ward's production talents really started to shine through with his last solo effort, 2009's Hold Time, and the aforementioned work with She & Him and his more esteemed partners in Monsters of Folk hit on familiar Ward touchstones: Brill Building pop, Chuck Berry homage, and dyed-in-the-wool `60s Americana. A Wasteland Companion, Ward's seventh album, continues to touch on all of these influences at one point or another. "Clean Slate" is where Ward's heart belongs though, resting in the shadowy period between the blues and British Invasion pop, a time when recording on more than one track was a studio trick in itself. The sparse tribute to Big Star is striking in its simplicity, and although A Wasteland Companion goes to great lengths to show Ward's dexterity as a producer, few artists can transport a listener as easily as Ward does on "Clean Slate" with just an acoustic and that inimitable voice. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Probably not his best effort November 26, 2012
Format:MP3 Music|Verified Purchase
But some of the songs grow on you after repeated listenings. Seems like he took a different direction with this album, which I'm sure some folks will love but I prefer his other stuff.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars oh man i wanted to love this one April 15, 2012
Format:Audio CD
m. ward is one of my favorites. his ability to turn solitude into beautiful music is peerless these days. from "undertaker" to "post-war" to the best cover of "rave on" of all time, m. ward's got the goods. i cannot emphasize enough how psyched i was for "a wasteland companion." first, the title is excellent. second, "the first time i ran away" showcases his songwriting talents as well as any other track he's produced to date. but, from start to finish, this album is his least ambitious and feels so rushed that it makes me wonder who was in charge of its production. was it m. ward? i'm not sure. it's one thing if it felt rushed from a production standpoint -- great garage albums exist, of course -- but there is so little life and emotion in this record that i feel like he was held at gun point to record whatever came to mind. in general, it's forgettable. he can redeem himself, to be sure, but this album is clearly the low point in his career, and it feels really strange to type it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed July 10, 2012
By Moodman
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I was ready for something big after "Hold Time" and M's other work of the last few years. The first half of this project started to deliver and then, to me, seemed to fizzle. Judging from the other reviews, many take an opposite view. Apparently there are two M. Ward camps and at least two sides to Mr. M. himself. All I know is that there was only one song I didn't care for on "Hold Time" or "Post War" and I haven't really even listened to the She & Him stuff. I'll be looking for the next product; another Monster collaboration maybe?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music Initiative Review June 5, 2012
Format:Audio CD
From the stark contrast of songs that seem to flow like day to night, to his exceedingly compelling and shadowy voice, to the dynamic openness and echoing sounds of the guitar, A Wasteland Companion is a definite representation of M. Ward's masterful skill and timeless sound. For his eighth solo project, M. Ward delivers this tight knit collection of 12 songs that, although vastly different, seem to connect in an overall beautiful way. None of the songs reach four minutes, but nothing seems missed or left out. "Primitive Girl" has a fun and poppy piano feel, but fades into what seems like a completely different song, going somewhere dark and chilling. His classic vocal and guitar mix is best illustrated in "The First Time I Ran Away," where he seems to be floating over his own fluid guitar playing with textured yet soft spoken vocals. Even Zooey Deschanel, who worked with Mr. Ward on their critically acclaimed music duo She & Him, makes a charming appearance on the fun rock cover of Daniel Johnston's "Sweetheart." Although only a brief thirty minutes in length, this album is worth repeated listens.

By Ace Alexander
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful piece of work October 13, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I purchased this CD for one song in particular and ended up loving the entire thing. M. Ward is a talented, clever writer and an amazing musician. I love the mood of this work and was delighted to find I already knew him from the band She and Him. I like She and Him, but this solo work is different. This CD stays in my stereo, I listen to it every day.
I collect all kinds of music from all kinds of artists, this guy is currently my favorite. I don't read celebrity news and have no idea if he is truly famous but if he isn't, he will be and I have to think he is well respected among his peers. I will be buying more of his work, He really is a pleasure to hear.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars American Original
There are three good reasons to like M. Ward. First, there is the range of his song writing as it reinvents the term "Americana" on each record. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gerald Lovett
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and lifeless
This is one of his weakest efforts, I've liked everything he's done from solos, she and him, monsters of folk, his stuff on Neko Case. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Trezonator
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't really sound like music
I mean, yes, it's music, but each song sounds so forced and unappealing. I love Hold Time, but this album just does not make sense. Sorry, M Ward.
Published 7 months ago by Sarah J. Vandrey
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A Wasteland Companion is just what the doctor ordered for 2012. I needed a year of rebirth and M. Ward gave me my soundtrack for the genesis. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Standaman
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome.
(: this is my favorite album of 2012. it's a must have on vinyl! from start to finish I love it.
Published 14 months ago by David Link
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice album
M. Ward is new to me. I picked this up on a whim because I had listened to a track on a Sampler Site. Read more
Published 14 months ago by BroadSword
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive talent
I heard about M Ward a couple of years ago, and have been eagerly awaiting his new releases since. He has never disappointed. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Seachelle
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant and Vaguely Memorable Sunday Afternoon
The first thought that hit me upon listening to M. Ward’s latest release is that this is a perfect NPR album. Read more
Published 14 months ago by River
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
M. Ward consistently makes great albums. I almost want to say better and better, but they all tend to be a bit different and unique and I love that after listening to a song a... Read more
Published 14 months ago by K. Rafalski
5.0 out of 5 stars Another solid M. Ward album
Sounds great, and another solid entry to the M. Ward albums. I especially like "Watch The Show." There's this thing where he makes albums and seems like he's trying very hard to... Read more
Published 16 months ago by N. Ernst
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