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Nathanson Reaches a New Level With Infectious "Modern Love"
on June 21, 2011
To quote the closing line of the Amazon review I wrote in 2007 of Matt Nathanson's most recent album "Some Mad Hope,"Matt Nathanson may not be a household name, but he should be" Fast forward past the huge commercial success of "Come On Get Higher," and one of the hardest working musicians in today's music scene finally has the recognition he deserves. Would he let the success go to his head or would he take it all in stride and further his quest to become one of the greatest singer-songwriters of his time? With "Modern Love," Nathanson definitively answers this question, and the album plays out as such:
1. Faster- 8/10
I have to admit that I was worried when this song was chosen as the first single. Without listening to the rest of the album and only having this song to judge, a hardcore Matt Nathanson fan might have been worried that Matt changed his sound too much, but after listening to it within the mix of the entire album, this song has really grown on me. It's summery, it's catchy, and it's a tough song to get out of your head once it's in there.
2. Modern Love- 9/10
Amazingly catchy mid-tempo number that is even harder to get out of your head than first single "Faster." Synthesized pianos, blaring horns, and a hooky chorus make this an essential tune to crank up with the windows down.
3. Love Comes Tumbling Down- 9/10
Sincere mid-tempo ballad with beautiful lyrics and an extremely powerful yet simple chorus. Of all the songs on the album, this one has the most solid build-up to a perfectly paced chorus.
4. Room at the End of the World- 9/10
An amazingly fresh blend of Matt's finest works. The lyrics of a mid-tempo ballad interspersed with an extremely catchy uptempo arrangement, this tune is a definite standout. The bridge of this song is the highlight, putting an exclamation point on an exceptional track.
5. Kiss Quick- 10/10
A hauntingly beautiful ballad that highlights Nathanson's ability to pour deep emotions into his work. This song oozes of desperation and tells an extremely true tale of the often long road to love.
6. Mercy- 8/10
Put the tissues away after listening to the prior song because this mid-tempo ditty will have you tapping your toes and singing along to the extremely catchy chorus.
7. Kept- 7/10
This ballad doesn't connect on the same emotional level as "Kiss Quick," and the song suffers as a result. Still a strong tune, just not at the same level as the rest of the album.
8. Run- 10/10
As a disclaimer, I am not a fan of country music, and I don't have any prior experience with Nathanson's duet partner Jennifer Nettles of the group Sugarland. With that said, this is a surefire single and one of the best songs on the album. Extremely catchy, filled with heartfelt lyrics and exceptional harmonies between Nathanson and Nettles, this is the "Come On Get Higher" of this album. While I would never categorize this song as country music, I would not be surprised to see it crossover and have a huge impact at country radio.
9. Queen of (K)nots- 8/10
At first listen, I must admit that I didn't enjoy this mid-tempo song. After a few run-throughs though, you can't help but tap your toe while enjoying this nifty ditty. The almost hypnotic guitar riffs of the verses lead up to a rather snazzy chorus.
10. Drop To Hold You- 8/10
A soft and slow buildup to a soaring chorus make this an extremely strong track. The only knock against it is that the chorus is a bit repetitive, but the great lyrics and tempo in the verses more than make up for this.
11. Bottom of the Sea- 9/10
A sincere piano-laden ballad that highlights the sweetest aspects of Nathanson's vocals. A perfect closer for an exceptional album.
There are very few artists out there with a strong enough character to stay humble after receiving mainstream success in the music business. Thankfully this isn't a concern for Matt Nathanson fans as evidenced by Nathanson's amazing effort put forth in creating "Modern Love." There are some artists out there who just get it, and Matt Nathanson is one of them. In a music world dominated by the likes of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, the future of singer-songwriter music will remain bright as long as Matt Nathanson has anything to say about.