Elvis has something he’d like to tell you via M. Ward
Every Monday, Add of the Week unveils all the new songs going into the 88Nine on-air playlist, with one hand-picked selection put in the spotlight by a member of our music team.
The usual format of our Add of the Week features involves telling you about an artist’s new song and the album it’s going to be on — promotional-type stuff. But, sometimes, there are songs that demand a deviation from the usual, such as when an artist recounts an encounter with Elvis Presley in which The King shares Zen-like wisdom with the world.
As you may have guessed, M. Ward has taken that road less traveled with his single, “supernatural thing,” from the upcoming album of the same name (due for release this Friday). Both the song and the accompanying animated video depict an unconscious meet-cute with Elvis, who said the following: “You can go anywhere you please.”
“All my songs depend on dream-imagery to some extent,” Ward said in notes accompanying the song’s release. “And this was an actual dream I had about Elvis, when he came to me and said that. I don’t know if it’s pandemic-related or not.”
There are a couple things about that quote that make sense. One is the dream-imagery, as Ward’s musical approach has typically been one of hazy reverie, in particular his “I’ve either been awake for 72 seconds or 72 consecutive hours” vocal stylings. The other is the potential pandemic tie-in.
For many of us, those years were defined by our constant hesitation to do literally anything. Everyone’s comfort level with returning to normality varies, but anyone who was waiting for the go-ahead from a dreamwalking Elvis Presley, I guess you’ve got it. As Ward sings on the track:
Something you cannot apprehend
Is on your conscience —
When you feel the line is growing thin
Between beautiful and strange
I bring a message from the king
On this new morning —
"You can go anywhere you please"
Since we’ve already taken a detour from the boilerplate Add of the Week approach, let’s just keep the ball rolling and say a few words about the other track earning a spot in the 88Nine playlist: Bethany Cosentino’s “It’s Fine.” The longtime half of rock duo Best Coast decided to give the solo world a spin and, as she put it, figure out “who I am outside of the ‘Bethany from Best Coast’ box I’ve lived in for such a long time.”
The answer is … a diner waitress. At least that’s the guise Cosentino tries on in the video for “It’s Fine,” which sounds a little more countrified than what we were accustomed to hearing from her previous project. The album took shape in Nashville with help from Butch Walker, somewhat explaining the sonic twist. Although Cosentino seems like she’s in the mood to try on a few different hats these days.
“When I look at all the artists I find most influential, the common thread is that they take risks and continue exploring different versions of themselves,” she said. “My goal is to keep growing and challenging myself and living outside any kind of box, to keep on evolving as an artist and a person.”
You can hear that evolution in the video below and, eventually, on Cosentino’s solo debut album, Natural Disaster, which comes out July 28. We’ll also have “supernatural thing” and “It’s Fine” spinning in the 88Nine playlist on the air, as well as streaming on the website and our app.