A Project for Better Journalism chapter

PersonA works in mysterious ways

For the lover of weird combinations, all things jazzy and mellow and energetic all at once, this one is for you. Last week, April 15, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros released their latest album, “PersonA”.

Since the dawn of time (AKA 2007), the Los Angeles based band has mastered the art of making things work. Combining piano, cymbols, trumpet,  guitar and many more instruments that I am unable to name with lead singer Alex Elbert’s silky smooth voice should not work. Yet somehow, it does. It presents a refreshing new take on the alternative indie genre that so many adore.

“PersonA” starts off deceptively slow with Hot Coals. Somewhat sad lyrics coupled with  soft guitar gives the impression that this is going to be another one of those albums. You know the type– acoustic feel, lyrics that sound meaningful and overall, the type of wanderlust album that anyone and everyone might listen to on a long drive down every single windy road ever. However, about a minute into the song, the beat picks up and thus begins a new side to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

While transitions between songs could be a little smoother, the album features 10 tracks that could not have been better suited for the same album. The album ebbs and flows between soft ballads and jazzy beats, and almost every song contains a combination of the two. There are themes and lyrics that are repeated in multiple songs, such as the lyrics “…wake up the sun” featured in the final song on the album, The Ballad of Yaya, which is also the title of the fifth song on the album. By tying in other songs at the end of the album, Edward Sharpe creates a sense of completion and truly brings the music full circle.

Personally, I have never been much of a fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I have found their previous two albums to be somewhat lackluster and little fun to listen to. But with “PersonA”, I have rarely been so content sitting through an entire album. There is something about these tracks that is so involving and complex and, when put together to make an album, it somehow becomes simple. Since first pressing play, I have been completely immersed. You do not just listen to “PersonA”, you hear it. While the band may be considered indie folk, this album almost cannot be confined to a single genre. It is so all over the place, but somehow, that only adds to the charm.