Hold Time - M. Ward
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 22 Ratings

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  • Summary: The singer-songwriter releases his latest solo album featuring guests such as The Decemberists' Rachel Blumberg, Lucinda Williams, DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman, and Zooey Deschanel.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Hold Time does, in fact, feel timeless, a musical wanderer's dusty, train-hopping tour through folk, blues, and country.
  2. 82
    Hold Time marks Ward's third, and best chance to skip the three-peat pattern for sneaking under the radar with his name near the top. [Winter 2009, p.92]
  3. His latest album, Hold Time, is as finely wrought and thoroughly affecting an indie effort as 2009 is likely to see.
  4. His music makes you think slowly, all the better to ponder the ample fruits of this profound album. [Winter 2009, p.76]
  5. The details sometimes outshine the songs: Lyrics about love come off as worn, and lyrics about God seem lifted from Sunday school.
  6. 70
    It takes a minute for the standouts here to stand out, but it's an enjoyable wait.
  7. Hold Time goes one step further by drowning the whole caboodle in a bizarre new sound that incorporates cheesy synthetic-sounding strings, a hint of Phil Spector as well as that resolutely unpretty croak.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. MichaelH
    Aug 19, 2009
    Rave On is one of M. Ward's most cherrished works, the beautiful soul-toned singer mixed with the backing vocals of Zooey Deschannel creates this airy, summery album with songs of sweet moving melodies and beautiful instrumentation with numerous tracks envoking something beyond breathtaking in the listener. Almost sounding like the album built specifically for lovers, there's nothing flirtatious about the album that keeps you listening from start to finish, waiting for the next summer adventure M. Ward has in store. Expand
  2. ChadS
    Feb 20, 2009
    No track on "Hold Time" will make you hold your breath like "Poison Cup" and "Chinese Translation" did, but overall, this lovely follow-up to "Post-War" might be a stronger overall album. For starters, Buddy Holly fans will go ape**** over Ward's reworking of "Rave On". "Jailbird" nicks New Order's "Love Vigilantes" with wit. "For Beginners" contains a rhythm guitar that uncannily recalls the slack-key stylings of regional artist Gabby Pahinui(made known to the world through Ry Cooder), but that might be a coincidence. "To Save Me" is a miraculous hybrid of rhythm and blues, and Ward's own personal aesthetics of musical autism. Nobody mixes the old with the new quite like Ward. His sincerity is winning, and never cloying. He's a vital artist. "Hold Time" holds steady with grace, but it lacks a classic original song. You'll just have to do with a classic cover: a languid reworking of Don Gibson's "Oh, Lonesome Me", which suggests Ward had studied the duets that Stuart Staples(of Tindersticks) recorded with actress Isabella Rosselini("A Marriage Made in Heaven") and Carla Torgeson("Travelling Light"). Expand
  3. BobP
    Apr 17, 2009
    A funky Buddy Holly - awesome!
  4. EdD
    Feb 18, 2009
    His previous album, Post War, is AMAZING and it would have been difficult to top... but M. Ward produces a solid album here and fans of his will not be let down. But for any new listeners, check out his last album Post-War before you get into this one. Expand
  5. May 14, 2013
    The only time I listened to M. Ward was She & Him and Monsters Of Folk, never his own record. I'll admit, I hate myself for it. After listening to Hold Time, I'm reevaluating all of this. What a fantastic record. Wards lyrics sound like a man with 80 years of wisdom under his belt. His vocals even shine as much or even more than this record. Every track is great.

    All In All, Hold Time is a far better record than I expected. I loved every minute of it. A-
  6. JonG
    Jun 11, 2009
    An amazing album-anyone who thinks the strings are fake needs to check him out live. This is the real deal.
  7. JesscoW
    Sep 11, 2009
    You know, I found this album to be really bland, and I thought maybe I'm just not a big M. Ward fan. But then I listened to Transfiguration of Vincent, which was amazing, and I realized that Hold Time just kind of sucks. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews