Matt Nathanson Modern Love
  • WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2011

  • Posted by: Gabby Green

With the evolution of music technology that brings us mashups, remixes, and all form of synth-pop, simple rock music hardly seems like a compliment. Yet, Matt Nathanson makes his minimalist rock/pop sound work, fleshing out radio hits, such as "Come On Get Higher," and most recently his newest album, Modern Love. After eighteen years and nine albums, pop musician doesn't seem to be slowing down, and is finally starting to take some chances along the way.

Much like his earlier work, Nathanson continues to make songs that people will find easy to sing along with. Nathanson's opening track, "Faster" definitely warrants praise and will keep listeners glued to their head sets for the rest of Modern Love. In an album that unfolds a story about human desire, Nathanson proves that his voice is the catalyst that expresses his passion. In "Faster" he experiments with a raspy wail that will definitely be swoon-worthy for his female fans. This foot-tapping melody gracefully leads him into his title track, "Modern Love". Here, his weightless instrumentals transpose a song originally written on an acoustic guitar to an energetically packed concert sing-a-long song.

It's in his slower pieces, like "Kiss Quick" that we can see the diversity in his range and sincerity in his message. He no longer is asking us to join him in song, animated about the possibilities of romance and relationships. He slowly begins to lean towards despair and loneliness, but not for long. Although he said that "Kiss Quick" was "the road mad for the rest of the album," it was really the tone behind this song that guided the balance of the album, rather than the tempo. In "Kiss Quick" Nathanson questions the importance of love and if it will exist for him in the future, finishing off his final line softly singing, "this year it will all disappear".

Nathanson noted in a journal entry that "records to me have always been uncomfortable to make, they've always felt unnatural. This one felt natural." Nathanson proves this in his newest album, showing his ease with much more layered instrumentals than he previously has utilized and honesty in his lyrics. The strictly acoustic, "Bottom of the Sea" emits a similar lonesomeness as in "Kiss Quick". It's definitely one of the albums highlights, as Nathanson leans towards the softer rock we typically expect from him.

Modern Love is nothing new, yet everything new. He doesn't push the boundaries as far as he could, but then, Nathanson's strength lies in uncomplicated, honest, rock songs. He writes in an entry, "This record feels like a beginning. I had done the singer/songwriter thing (eight albums of it!), I didnt want to be defined by only that." The albums closer, "Run," collaboration with Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, of country band Sugarland, feels like the beginning of the next stage of Nathanson's career. The message of Modern Love is clearly his questioning of love, what still remains slightly elusive is his where he wants to go next with his music. If this album is a testament to his passion, Matt Nathanson is prepared to take on whatever musical venture he chooses to pursue next.

Watch our full-length Matt Nathanson concert video for more.

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