Saturday, October 29, 2011

#7: Josh Ritter - The Animal Years

Release Year: 2006

Josh Ritter has always been a great lyricist, and a great folk storyteller.  Here, though, the lyrics are more pessimistic than anything else he has written, and it gives his music a whole new touch.  The tone is set right away with "Girl In The War," a song that is about the feeling of helplessness one must feel when he has a girl who has been deployed to Iraq, but can also be about the helplessness you feel when you are simply unable to heft the object of your devotion, whatever that may be.

The great thing about this album is that the lyrics work on multiple levels.

Contained herein is Ritter's best lyrical work to date, the sprawling "Thin Blue Flame."  Over the course of its nine plus minutes, this song evolves from cynicism to anger, and finally to resign and reconciliation.  And the tone and intensity of the music matches that of the lyrics throughout.  This is one of my favorite songs.

There is a reason none other than Stephen King gave this album the honor of being his favorite album of 2006.

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