One of the mini-reviews I submitted to the Westword was a few words about the new Matt Nathanson live album: At The Point (2006, Acrobat Records). Since they didn’t run it, lemme tell you what I wrote, since that is our topic for today.
“Until you’ve seen a Matt Nathanson concert, it’s impossible to understand how he could combine his melancholy, wrenching acoustic songs with an acidic sense of humor — and even the occasional Rick Springfield cover or Prince singalong. This live album captures those moments, and the setlist draws from several of his releases, providing a balanced introduction to this talented (and bitingly funny) young songwriter.”
I am getting more and more into him weekly, and find myself putting his music on random while I work every time I am near the computer. Here is a small sampling of tracks off the new album, but all of them are excellent & recommended.
“I Saw“ – The line where he sings, “I still wake up burning through everything” always makes my throat tighten a little and my eyes burn — it took me a bit by surprise to react like that but for some reason the honesty in his voice on this line stings.
“Romeo & Juliet“ (Dire Straits cover) – Matt says, “So, I’ve never played this song live, and I don’t know if it’s gonna work, but I was at a friend’s house last night in NYC and we were talking about great songs — and this is a great song.”
“Answering Machine“ – The crowd always heartily sings along with this lovely melodic chorus. The lyrics are so biting for such a pretty song: “I met a new one and she looks just like you / She gives me everything that you didn’t want to / And maybe I don’t need saving after all / She sticks in my ribs almost better than you did.”
“Straight to Hell“ (Drivin And Cryin cover) – Nathanson has a great ear for a good song, meaningful lyrics, a beautiful melody and the songs he covers (while sometimes done in jest) are often transformed into something more arresting than the original. I’ve never cared for Drivin and Cryin, but I do here.
I heartily recommend downloading this entire live album (on eMusic and iTunes) and, even more so, seeing Matt Nathanson when he comes through your town. You will not have more fun at a show this year.
I just noticed on his website that he is playing a free show this Thursday night (June 22) in downtown San Jose as part of the Music In The Other Park summer concert series. Can’t go wrong with free + Matt Nathanson. He rocks Cleveland on Saturday, and will be at Austin City Limits in September. (Now come back to Colorado!)