M. Ward’s “The First Time I Ran Away”

You can argue all day about whether to love Zooey or hate Zooey, but here’s the rub: M. Ward was around before her and will last long after her.

Need proof? The first 20 seconds of his single, “The First Time I Ran Away,” starts out bare-bones tinkling and then — boom — it’s lush, rich texture à la M.

The three-part ditty tells a tale as formulaic as a country song but with the tiny sweetness that Ward’s work never misses, accompanied by animation that plays with motifs of fish, waterfalls, faces and pink argyle patterns. It works. (Bonus point: You might recognize the work of Joel Trussell, the video’s director, who also did the video for “Chinese Translation.”)

Ward’s A Wasteland Companion is out April 10.

M. Ward- Rave On (Feat. Zooey Deschanel) (download)

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