- Audio CD (March 5, 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Pytheas Recoridngs
- ASIN: B00AXGX5HQ
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,905 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Beast in Its Tracks
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The Beast in Its Tracks
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Josh Ritter The Beast In Its Tracks is Ritter's first studio album in almost three years. The Beast In Its Tracks may well be remembered as Ritter's divorce record, as it was written and recorded in the wake of his 18-month marriage suddenly dissolving.
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But, if you don't care about my feelings concerning the content of the album, and are looking for a review of Amazon's service- that's cool. The delivery came a day earlier than advertised, and the packaging was tidy and damage free. No problems at all. I have had almost all good experiences with deliveries, and have never had a bad customer service experience when customer service was needed.
To understand this album, it's helpful to look at how far Josh Ritter has come as an artist. A few albums ago, he sang of taking Kathleen home. Now, he's singing of pain, separation, love lost, and glimmers of hope. The style is unmistakably Ritter's, but the content is quite different, much heavier and more complex then much of what we have seen before.
It's not that Ritter has never explored dark themes --behold "Another New World" from the previous album-- but quite like this. There are breakup songs and there are new love songs, but how many songs are there about the hope of new love seen through the light of old pain? Not too many, but there are several on this album. Before Josh Ritter showed his effectiveness and painting just one, easily defined emotion. Now he wanders into more serious territory, blending darkness and light, hope and despair. We see this in the standout song, "A Certain Light." The song describes a new love, but Ritter is speaking to his old love, who obviously still weighs in his heart. He sings: "And she only looks like you in a certain kind of light / when she holds her head just right." "Hopeful" and "New Lover" are both variations on this theme.
My personal favorite, however, is a song that is almost wholly dark, "Nightmares," which I interpret as a visual exploration of depression. Here are some excerpts from the lyrics:
Nightmares have their dreams as well
and when they sleep they go to hell and they
drink their fill on lakes of blood and they
cant across the skull-paved mud...
I know where the nightmares sleep,
on what fodder do they feed
I followed one back down to hell and I
spent some time down there myself.
I love this album and I expect it will grow on my more, but I must register one criticism. Ritter has given us plenty of dark songs, but we haven't heard anything light in the vein of "Next to the Last True Romantic" since Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, two full albums ago! We are long overdue for a batch of songs like this. I saw Ritter perform in Salt Lake City a few years ago, and loved his infectious grin (Ritter fans know what I'm talking about). I have trouble imagining that he sings some of these songs with that magnificent, feel-good grin. Therefore, this album fails to capture the full range of which Ritter is capable. If the album was a bit more varied it could have been his best.
He is comfortable w/the audience & extremly humble too. He really brought a great show to the stage!
I really have nothing critical to say.What a Talent!!!