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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Album Review

Album Review

No, this is not John Ritter’s son, or of any kin to the late comedian for that matter, though I thought he was too. No, Josh Ritter is a musician, and he apparently has quite a fan base. His album “The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter” suggests from the beginning the influence of late 1960s and early 70s rock along with nods to modern day bands such as The Arcade Fire and The Decemberists.

“To the Dogs or Whoever” opens the album of such a confident title, and is a strangely happy and hopeful song with the sounds of clicks and clacks all over the place and is like an ode to the album title with calls to historical figures, such as the three women of Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale and Calamity Jane, some specific heroines of different parts of history. The second track “Mind’s Eye” comes across as a smart-aleck theme while still managing to avoid being obnoxious. Ritter was nice enough to include the lyrics with his album, which was cool to read as I listened. I found the lyrics to be intricate yet thoughtful, while not sounding egotistical. “Right Moves” is a love song that sounds like it was written for an unfound but somehow recruited crush. “Right Moves,” which comes in as the third track on “Historical Conquests” starts off an array of songs about continued wishes and holding on to something that is all in the name of love. The lyrics can be touching and meaningful with no unnecessary added sugar. The lyrics complied for “Wait for Love” literally consist of a short paragraph yet is one of those songs that carries enough weight to mean something. The simple yet true lyrics have Ritter embellishing “wait for love” repeatedly in a gentle wispier. He actually seems to come across as a musical version of the lovey-dovey fool for love character Lloyd Dobler from the film “Say Anything.”

Josh Ritter looks wiser than his years may suggest, but he also doesn’t seem to get sidetracked by what he thinks his music should sound like. Instead, Ritter focuses on being honest about hope, love and the panic one feels within those actions. His versatile voice could sound like a lead singer of a slightly harder rock band or possibly one of the biggest male pop stars in the world, which is a nice gift to have. He actually reminded me of John Mayer to a degree, like a sibling rival. And while some may disagree with me, I do like some of Mayer’s songs, although Ritter is a more tolerable version of John Mayer (and has a much better voice). The song “Real Long Distance” showcases this superiority very well and shows Ritter’s offbeat tone, which is approachable even to new listeners who may like more general pop music.