Friday, November 15, 2013

Favorite Song? Be serious.

A friend asked me earlier today (or she may have asked last night, either way, I got the message this morning) what my favorite Matt Nathanson song is.  For another person (besides me), or another artist, this might be a simple question.  For example, my favorite Matchbox Twenty song is "Long Day" from Yourself or Someone Like You.  That's right, a song from their debut album grabbed me, latched on and, sadly, they've never topped it for me.  Not so with Matt.  Why, you ask?  Don't his songs latch on?  Of course they do!  They get a good hard grip on you and these suckers do not let go, they embed themselves and become part of your permanent soundtrack, part of your fabric.  It's because he keeps getting better.  Every single album he releases one-ups the last one.  I don't know how he does it.

Even so, I came up with an answer right away, then I changed my mind 8 times, then I circled back around to my original impulse.  Let me preface this by saying, that I really do like all of Matt's songs and I can honestly say that I love the vast majority of them.  But I was asked to pick a favorite, so here goes my thought process.

The first song that popped in my head was "Annie's Always Waiting  (For the Next One to Leave)" and I almost replied to her immediately with that, but something stopped me.  What was it?  Well, Matt's entire catalogue weighed on my mind and songs that I had loved fiercely long before "Annie" was ever written.

There are so many amazing songs here to choose from, it's almost impossible to pick just one.  I mean, I can put my entire Nathanson collection on shuffle and I know I will not go wrong at any turn.  I'm naturally inclined toward the powerful songs that make me feel the feels, such as "Little Victories", "Weight of It All", and "Bulletproof Weeks".  They're all so beautiful and I can listen to them at absolutely any time.  I can always just how "favorite" a song really is by how often I skip it and I really never skip these, ever.

Then there is "Pretty the World", which has one of my favorite arrangements of any of Matt's songs.  When that song drops into the chorus, it just does something to me that I can't explain.  It's impossible not to physically react to this song.  He played this song the first time I saw him headline and I'm telling you, this song actually makes the world a better place.  Stunning.

So after all that rambling, I think I've come down to my top 5 favorite Matt Nathanson songs: 
5. Car Crash
4. Heart Starts
3. Kiss Quick (this one is still hands down, bar none my absolute favorite song to hear him perform live - it is a religious experience)
2. Mercy
1. Annie's Always Waiting (For the Next One to Leave)

So you see, I ended up with my first impulse.  After all this pondering and deliberating, I think it's okay to call this song off the newest record my favorite, right?  I mean, love the shit out of this song for a multitude of reasons.  First off, you have Aaron Tap counting off to start it, then the thing just explodes out of the speakers like a physical being.  There are drums all over the damn place and an infectious, insistent guitar that demands affection.  This song is more along the line of the type of music I grew up listening to, it sounds like home to me.  Then, there's the lyrics.  You know that line in "Bitter Sweet Symphony": "I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me"?  That's what this song does.  Somehow, I feel like this song knows me, it exposes deep wounds, and yet it still somehow makes me feel better about everything all at the same time.  Every time I listen to it, the music, the lyrics, the whole thing...I feel like it was written just for me, and that, my friends, is the magic of a truly great song. 

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