i don’t have a rating system but going by the generic 5 star rating, i would rate this album 4/5.
to be clear, i am not a music critic. i don’t know much about music, in regards to theory, lyrics, history, in fact, i’m tone-deaf but i know what i like. rest assured, i am good at that.
this album came out today but being the huge matt nathanson fan that i am, i’ve been streaming it for a week now. i love it. but i’m not such a fan that i don’t have some critiques for it.
i have to say that i liked each song individually, they’re catchy. but as a whole, i liked Some Mad Hope better. there’s an overall tone to this new album that does not capture the desperate magic his 2007 offering did. this new album is polished, it has studio quality vibes that is not necessarily bad but what drew me to Nathanson in the first place was his almost studied indifference to the mainstream, while at the same time, an undercurrent of desire to be accepted by what he so carefully rejected.
this newest offering is definitely a step into the mainstream. in the last few years, he’s partnered up with definite successful acts, like sugarland and OAR, while still doing smaller venues and opening for smaller groups like Jack’s Mannequin… this strategic move appealed to his longtime fans who’ve seen him in small coffee shops & college stages while still broadening his audience to include country folk & rockers. smart. planned. this summer he opens for Train & Maroon5. i’ve said it before, i am hopeful that he’ll tour alone in support of this album, 20 minute opening sets are not enough, and super secret shows are competitive to get tickets for.
about the album itself, it unfurls like a novel, each song building up for the next. the basic premise is love and relationships and how it fits or doesn’t fit in today’s world. this man is on point with how timely this album is. i realize that the world does not revolve around me but in this last year, i’ve delved into online dating, found love thru it, dealt with the obstacles that the internet and cell phones has thrown at me, all while still maintaining the relationships i have already with others and with myself. jesus, this man touches on all that, while still impeccably capturing it all thru his songwriting. he has a gift of writing in the moment, he’s not afraid to croon and wail and let it all bare. i dig that about him. and when he performs, it’s like he’s singing these same songs, nevermind that he probably did it the night before and before and before, for the first time and you’re privy to witness & experience it with him.
my favorite tracks are Modern Love and Run. So we stumble/we disconnect/Over and over again/This modern love/Is not enough. how fucking truth is that? Run is a collaboration with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles who is amazing. it captures a bit of the essence of Come On, Get Higher, that sexy smoldering sway that pulls & tugs at you, making you want to basically screw all night.
yeah. so this video is from his super secret show i saw in Vienna, VA. enjoy.