Album ReviewMusic

ALBUM REVIEW: “Visitor” by John Moreland

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Sun Apr 21 2024

BY: Alex Gershman

Visitor | John Moreland

John Moreland, the renowned singer/songwriter from Tulsa, Oklahoma, released his seventh LP Visitor on Friday, April 5th. It was a surprise album, though the majority of the songs had been recently posted acoustically on social media (alongside claims of having no plans for release). Given that John is one of my absolute favorite artists, and, in my opinion, one of the best songwriters alive, this record was a pleasant surprise and is an early contender for my top album of the year. 

Visitor starts off heavy, with a question that is posed throughout the entire record: what does it mean for us, as humans, to be living in a digital age? “The Future is Coming Fast” doesn't necessarily give us an answer, but it explores our (largely unhelpful) ways of dealing with a new world (“We don't breathe and we don't rest, We just choose the lie that feels the best”). This topic is further explored in “Silver Sliver,” where Moreland reflects on an obsession with technology that he doesn't quite understand: “Pixels bleeding in my brain, Silver sliver in the sky, I'm in love with you and I don't know why.”

On “One Man Holds the World Hostage,” Moreland addresses the current political climate, though perhaps the most applicable line to that situation comes in the song “Will the Heavens Catch Us When We Fall?” when he states “I will torch the kingdom outright, just to hold the crown.” Moreland does not mince words nor opinions, taking a strong stance, as he always does, through words that can cut a listener to the bone. But although he expresses himself well through his art, Moreland makes clear that those who shout, scream, and force their opinions on others are only fooling themselves (“Some folks stay and some folks go, some folks say and some folks know”). And on “Blue Dream Carolina,” he states, “tell me what the truth is, don't tell me who to be.”

If I was asked to pick a personal favorite, though, it would have to be the title track “Visitor.” Not only are the lyrics strong (“You still got your nostalgia, and I've got my wandering mind” and “Hang on to your half-truths, cause I've got enough regrets”), but my favorite delivery of his comes on the bridge where he states “Times are anything but kind, I've been dreaming like there's something there of meaning I could find.” His voice is so incredible in that portion of the song, and it really sums up the feeling of it (“I am a visitor”) and the album as a whole; Moreland feels as if he doesn't quite belong to this world – whether it be the technological obsession, the lies we tell ourselves, or those we put in power, he seems able to see through it all. But oftentimes we need a “Visitor” – someone to remind us of what matters, or more importantly, what doesn't. And as one of the best lyricists alive, Moreland appears poised to do just that.