My first thought about Addressed to the Stars was that it seemed darker than Josh Woodward’s 2014 album The Beautiful Machine; darker, yet more matured. Not that there aren’t some uplifting moments. “Too Many Valleys” offers a message of staying optimistic in the face of negativity. “Aimless” had kind of a happy “ignorance is bliss” message, with its characters enjoying pursuits without being concerned with outcomes. “Princess” is the story of a little girl with a big imagination and how she immerses herself in playtime after school. The album closes with the upbeat “Just Show Me”, which is the closest thing to a pop song on the album, with just a hint of Fountains of Wayne.
The other songs offer a well-thought-out examination of interpersonal matters. The music, though, is bright enough to keep it from feeling like you should shut off all the lights and drink while listening… it’s not as hopeless-sounding as Roger Waters but it’s not so upbeat as to wash out the intent of the lyrics a la Barenaked Ladies.
The one song that could go either way is “Knock”, which is about the self-torture of debating whether or not to express how you feel about someone. Pretty much every guy who’s not a total douchebag has had this feeling. Of course the real world answer is to just speak up and deal with the outcome. The “either way” is that the answer could be happy or it could be “I don’t like you that way.” The hopeful part of the song is that he (spoiler alert) decides to take the shot.
For most, the likely standout will be “My Favorite Regret”. It’s a song about a love that could have been, which isn’t unusual, but the “why” is different. It’s a duet, with the female point of view voiced by Katie Pederson, a singer songwriter from Woodward’s town of Ann Arbor, Michigan.