For My Sunday Song #218, we are going to discuss the song “Used to Be” by Matt Nathanson off his album ‘Sings His Sad Heart’ that was released on October 5, 2018 just a couple short years ago. The album is one of my favorites as it is one of the saddest albums you will ever hear, but the music doesn’t necessarily match that sadness. They are a beautiful contradiction.
“Used to Be”, however, is not that contradiction. The music and lyrics are both sad although that sadness is more nostalgia. The singer is looking back about an old flame and he is missing her so much. He is letting her know that if she is starting to forget those memories, he can help her remember. Basically, the person he is jonesing for has completely moved on, but he can’t move forward. He is stuck in the past. There is a line in the song that is so brilliant and one of the coolest lines I’ve ever read…
And if you’re having trouble, baby, holding on to memories I’ve got a king-sized bed and a Ph.D. in the way it used to be
“King-sized be and a PH.D. in the way it used to be”, I don’t know…it just sounds so perfect. This part of the chorus just sinks in and grabs you and is so memorable, you can’t help but sing along and it starts to feel like an old friend you’ve known forever. Matt has a way of writing that sounds so familiar and comfortable. He writes for the everyday person and although his stuff is so personal to him, it is the same thing everyone else is feeling or have felt at some time in the life.
For My Sunday Song #217, we will talk about the song “Last Days of Summer in San Francisco” by Matt Nathanson. The song is off his 2013 album “Last of the Great Pretenders” which went to #16 on the Billboard charts. The song was never released as a single, but most of Matt’s songs aren’t and it is those deep cuts that draw me to his music. Okay that and the incredible song writing.
“Last Days of Summer in San Francisco” is like a lot of songs on this album that seem to be a love letter to San Francisco with shout-outs to locations and landmarks. This particular song seems to be about a powerful Summer love that helped define the person who he became. The person showed them who they were and gave them the strength to do things they didn’t think they could even if some of them were stupid stuff. It sounds like a Summer romance that blew hot and then burned out. But it is that first verse that sums up the song to me perfectly…
We spent July in a Berkeley basement, Half read books, and bold declarations. There was so much I didn’t believe in And then, there was you. You made me brave, You made me stupid Gave me this skin, that I could move in.
It is that kind of writing that makes Matt so special. His word phrasing, his pacing, it is all just brilliance to me. His music connects to the most human of experiences and emotions. He sings of life, love and heartache in ways most people dream they could do.
For My Sunday Song #216, we are going to explore the song “Room at the End of the World” by Matt Nathanson. The song is off his stellar 2011 album, ‘Modern Love’ and it was the 2nd single off the album. Although I don’t think the song charted, the album did debut at #17 on the Billboard charts. The fact that it didn’t chart is no surprise as Matt has never been a darling of public radio. His songs are way too good for radio as they are well crafted masterpieces and lyrical poems about life and he is pure talent unlike the bozos on radio. No, I am not biased…okay…yes I am. You got me!
I think the song is talking about being with the one you love and nothing to take away that fact. Even if the world was ending, you two would get a room and make the best of what was to come. I love how the song talks about how he was lost and had given up on love until he found “The One”. The One that makes him whole, The One that he will be with until the end of time, The One true love. There is line that says “one heart is never enough alone” and I don’t think it is saying you have to be someone to be whole, I think it is saying that he never felt complete until he found her (or him). His lyrical phrasing is always so eloquent and so beautiful. He doesn’t sing a love song in the same cliched way other songs do.
Musically, the song is an upbeat, feel-good song that dances along with its ups and downs the same way we go through life. The drum beats towards the end are your heart beating as the love builds and the song keeps promising to deliver more and does just that as the final choruses are sung with all his heart and the music is full of life and love.
For My Sunday Song #215, we are going to discuss “Suspended” by Matt Nathanson off his 2003 album ‘Beneath the Fireworks’. The album was one of the first I heard by Matt and helped me get on board to become a full-fledged fan. “Suspended” was a single off the album but failed to chart. His first charted single didn’t come until his next album, ‘Some Mad Hope’ in 2007.
The song seems to be about being with someone that that you think is pretending you are the one. You are scared. You are feeling things that you haven’t felt before. You are alive, no longer numb. You feel she might actually be the one, but you are scared that she is. You freak out a little, but you finally suspend disbelief and except her for what this is and it could be beautiful. For me, it is a song about hope in finding your true love. I find it it to be a beautiful and the way he captures the emotions in the lyrics is amazing.
Musically, it is a pop song, plain and simple. Nice beats, good grove, great vocal delivery. There is nothing special about it, no outstanding moment. It perfectly captures the tone of the lyrics and it is catchy, fun and pleasant. Sometimes, the beauty is in the simplicity.
For My Sunday Song #214, we are going to discuss the song “Adrenaline” off Matt Nathanson’s album ‘Show Me Your Fangs’ from 2015. The album contained 4 singles and next to “Headphones” this might be my favorite single off the album. It charted as high as #26 on the US Adult Alternative Charts and did as well as “Headphones”.
I picture “Adrenaline” as a song about longing and desire. After a bad breakup and you run in to that person again and you want to be with them so badly you can taste it. All you remember is how great it was and wanting to capture that desire, that passion that emotion one more time and if you could grab hold, you wouldn’t let go this time. Lyrically, the song captures that feeling beautifully as well as full of some imagery of Los Angeles and of that desire that make the song a little on the sexy side.
Musically the songs starts off with an almost angelic vocals full of echo and a haunting delivery. There is a great drum beat throughout that gets you moving and bobbing the head. The highlight for me is how Matt delivers the song vocally. They way he dances with the lyrics and loses himself in the lyrics makes you feel everything that the song is trying to make you feel. A talent on both as a songwriter and a singer and when those too mesh together in the right way, you are treated with something magical and this song is exactly that.
My Sunday Song #213 is the song “Car Crash” by Matt Nathanson. The song is off his 2007 album ‘Some Mad Hope’ and it was a single and got a relatively fair amount of airplay. Not as much as another song on that album which will be the final post of this 10 song series.
The song is rather dark in subject matter. It seems to be about someone that has kept things inside for so long that they have become numb to everything around them. They want to so desperately to feel something. They want that “car crash” moment to wake them from the darkness and let them feel life again. They need that dramatic cataclysmic catastrophe to be alive as they are dying on the inside. It is rather heartbreaking that the person feels so low and depression is so rampant in today’s society which even today is easy to see how the darkness can consume.
Musically, the song fits the lyrics as the chorus explodes and the drum beats and cymbal hits sound like a crashing sound. While on the verses, the electric guitars fill the image with a rich tone and texture that accompany the vocals to give it a sound that is uplifting despite the darkness. The sounds feel like everything is about explode and all will be right with the world. It is a perfect blend of the dark lyrics with the light instrumentation.
For My Sunday Song #212, we are going to discuss the song “Kinks Shirt” by Matt Nathanson. The song is off his 2013 album, ‘Last of the Great Pretenders’ and in July of that year he released this song as a video and a single. It was one of the fun songs on the album that shows he isn’t all heartbreak and sadness and that sometimes he can be a good mood or at least sound like he is.
The song was actually inspired by an actual girl that was wearing a Kinks Shirt. You know The Kinks, who doesn’t love The Kinks? No one, that is who. While recording the album, Matt and his producer and band mates would visit this diner quite frequently, I mean like every day for lunch. There was a girl that worked there with tattoos and piercings and nothing like someone that Matt would normally be attracted to maybe, but someone he was obsessed with. Not in a crazy stalker way, but more fantasizing way. He was so mesmerized by her that she inspired this song.
The song is an uptempo pop song, plain and simple. It is so catchy, fun and you can’t help but get caught up in the beat and dance around a little. Lyrically, Matt paints a vivid picture of this girl wearing The Kinks shirt and you can picture every little detail about her and how she makes him feel. Who hasn’t had a girl at one time you were mentally in love with, but never approached her to see what could’ve been.
For My Sunday Song #211, we are tackling the first in our 10 song set of Matt Nathanson songs. I’m starting the series out with my favorite track and that is “Run”. The song features Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland. The song is off his 2011 album, ‘Modern Love’ and was released as single, but only reached #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 which baffles me.
The song is not a country song even though Sugarland are on it. No! This is a sensual, oh so sexy, love song. The lyrics are dirty with lines like “You come in waves” and “Then Swallow me whole” as well as “And I watch it explode”. At the same time they are sexy with lines like “You pull me in close / And buckle my knees” and “You trace my lines / Stirring my soul”. And then they are heartwarming with a line like “I’m amazing when you’re beside me / I am so much more”. This song speaks to me and reminds me of my lovely bride and when I hear this song, I think of only her! Each and every time.
Now here is the problem. The song I think is more about an affair than love. The lyrics talk about running back to this person. The man says he knows that it’s wrong but he can’t help it and he always goes back to her. Personally, I ignore that part and think of it more as a passionate love affair with my wife. Either way, you can’t help but love the song.
There is nothing better than artist that delivers a surprise and Matt Nathanson did just that. On Wednesday of last week, he made an announcement that he was dropping a live album and you could pre-order it on vinyl or many bundles on Thursday at Noon EST. So, I set a reminder on my calendar and when 12:00pm hit, I was on the site and the album was ordered. And to make it even better, you were sent an email and able to download the album immediately in a digital version. And to make it even better than better, you got a deluxe edition with another 36 tracks. That was over 3 hours of music…hell yeah!!! And the album would drop to the general public on Friday so I got to hear it day before everyone else (except those other fans that ordered).
The main standard album is mostly an actual show that was recorded on his 2019 tour called the “Song Wheel” Extravaganza Tour at the legendary Paradise Rock Club in his hometown of Boston, MASS. What was really cool about this tour is that it was an acoustic show with just Matt and his friend Aaron. And another really cool aspect is the tour included a big wheel called the Song Wheel. There were a ton of songs around the wheel and he would spin it several times during the show and let the wheel decide what song would be played next. This is exciting because basically each show he played would be different than the show prior. That is almost unheard of in today’s technical and choreographed lighting shows where every bit of the show is timed out to the precise moment leaving no room for improv which Matt is an utter master at doing.
Happy Friday everyone. It is another day for releases and hopefully something you’ve been wanting. There isn’t a whole lot here this week, some solid metal, pop, country, r&b, comedy and two surprises that only popped up as being released this week. And those two are the only ones I am interested in which is good as vacation is coming and some much needed time off. Those two are in Blue. Let me know what you are digging this week and what I have missed. If there is nothing for you, what is something new lately that you find to be pretty dang great? Let me know! Have a great weekend everyone!
Taylor Swift – Folklore – (Republic Records): Surprise, Surprise!! Taylor announced yesterday that she is dropping a new album at midnight…right when this post posts! Written and inspired during the Covid-19 stay at home orders…I’m actually interested in what this will sound like. I know, I’m surprised by that as well.
Matt Nathanson – Live in Paradise: Boston: The announcement came on Wednesday, Pre-Orders were Thursday and the Digital is came immediately so technically this came out yesterday, but I don’t care!!!…This is so exciting for me as nothing this man puts out is bad and now a Live album…Hell Yeah!!! There are no videos, but someone posted one from the show last year that is supposed to from so close enough.