Review Summary: Matthew Good spills his guts on the table and later uses them to make his guitar strings. In translation: Matthew Good makes a very intimate, personal record and pours all he has into Hospital Music.
Over the past few years Matthew Good has definitely dealt with more than his fair share of hard times. Going through a rotten divorce with his wife that started in February of 2006 and later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For all who are unaware of the effects of bipolar disorder the basic symptoms are episodes of extreme anxiety and depression. Matthew was prescribed Ativan to treat his disorder and overdosed after a show in Kingston, Ontario. But through all the terrible experiences, Good was able to channel his emotions into something productive, beautiful and personal. That thing is Hospital Music.
The main point to Hospital Music was to cope with Good’s experiences and he displays this extremely well, especially through his lyrics. He portrays his divorce in songs like the first single Born Losers
and She’s in it for the Money
. Though both songs seem to have a different spin on the subject, as Born Losers
is more upbeat as Good sings jokingly “There ain’t nothing to this but your daughter” while She’s in it for the Money
is mostly slower including the accompaniment of stringed instruments. Good also shows his depression in abstract songs like the nine and a half minute opener Champions of Nothing
, as the song slowly progresses but never comes up above the volume of a soft voice. The rest of the album deals with a number of subjects including the political track, a subject that Good is quite familiar with, Black Helicopters
Matthew Good has been known as one of Canada’s best song writers and Hospital Music is just another one of his masterpieces that easily could be placed with his other hit albums Avalanche and Beautiful Midnight. Well what does Hospital Music use to set itself from Good’s other albums? A personal touch if you haven’t already picked up. The album has contrasts in style, genres and emotions. Champions of Nothing
is an eerie, depressing acoustic rock song that has a wonderfully bluesy guitar solo smacked right in the middle of the song, while a song like Odette
is a beautiful orchestral like track mostly featuring violins and Good’s calm voice. Every track seems to add something to the hollowed out atmosphere of the album, and this certain sound seems to take itself as the soul of the album. That is Good and his acoustic guitar. There’s always a laid back feeling in Hospital Music and that is through Matt’s slow moving chord progressions and the small licks that are in between. A perfect example of this is Metal Airplanes
with a simple progression written over a rhythmic beat.
Hospital Music also appears to be an enjoyable listen the whole time, as each song has its moments (even the fifty-four second quicky I am Not Safer than a Bank
). Though some of the musicianship is simple, the effectiveness is one of Hospital Music’s many strong suits. Even with the album playing over an hour, the album ceases to bore me. The album mixes variety with a somewhat consistent sound as fast, upbeat songs and slow moving tracks can be right next to one another on the album while still feeling like a whole. The album flows quite nicely and comes to a conclusion to all the depressing songs with a cover of Daniel Johnston’s True Love Will Find You in the End
This album is the best of the year 2007, no doubt. It has it all stunning lyrics, well thought out song structures, effective musicianship and heart. The album is simplistic but it flows and has both variety and consistency. Good expresses himself through his lyrics, and through his guitar lines and reaches out to the audience even if you haven’t gone through the same experiences, it feels like you did. This album seemed to fly under the radar of hype surprisingly, considering it id his first LP since White Light Rock & Roll Review. Literally and figuratively the title of the record reflects a lot as literally and figuratively this is Matthew’s Hospital Music.