The Tallest Man on Earth – “Burden of Tomorrow”
Who had a more productive and revered ten years than Kristian Matsson? The man started off the decade by earning top honors from multiple publications for his 2010 masterclass in folk, The Wild Hunt. From there, he cemented his position atop the genre with There’s No Leaving Now – a great and oft overlooked gem. Dark Bird is Home stretched his sonic boundaries, and I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream. reminded us that he never lost his touch through the aforementioned record’s experimentation. Needless to say, his legacy – at least with regard to the 2010’s – was never in doubt.
“Burden of Tomorrow” embodies everything about Mattson’s music in a tidy three and a half minute package. It’s like a spur of the moment road trip through the countryside: the deceptively complex fingerpicking and skeletal guitar-and-vocals songwriting approach feels like a refreshing breeze blowing through the open roof of a car. It’s as if that sensation, that joyous spontaneity that Matsson has become known for across the span of his career thus far, was captured in a bottle.
It’s not overly showy; it’s just Kristian’s raw, scratchy vocals atop acoustic guitar plucking – pretty standard fare by any means. What makes this track special is his delivery and the melody. He’s not an artist renowned for his hooks, but this track’s chorus is one of his very best – and the way he belts it out showcases his surprisingly versatile range. From the almost whispered “frosty morn” in the verses to the peaks in the chorus where he sings “flying mane” and “turning game”, the variation in pitch is tremendous. The way that Matsson seamlessly winds and turns through this melodic masterpiece is nearly as breathtaking as the landscape pictured on the album’s front cover: the guitars portray the limitless skyline, while his raw voice provides the earthy contrast. There’s nothing over-the-top about “Burden of Tomorrow” – and it was never written with “song of the decade” aspirations in mind – but that’s what makes it such a thing of beauty. Simplicity and sincerity, in raw form: that’s “Burden of Tomorrow”, and that’s Matsson.