The Junos this year were horrible to say the least. Pamela Anderson? Nickelback winning an award? Chris Martin? The Black Eyed Peas? What the hell is going on in our Canadian music society? But over the sea of familiar faces in the audience, one face is missing. Over his ten year career, alt-rock legend Matthew Good has held up a boycott of the Junos, claiming it to be not pure enough in the sense that it should be all Canadian. Despite the fact he's been nominated for over a dozen Junos, Good has ignored this and kept on creating the breathtaking music he's know for.
Let's go back to 1999. Matthew Good is celebrating his success from his new album "Beautiful Midnight", featuring the smash hit "Load Me Up". This was possibly his biggest hit to date. Good still wore shades. He still had his "Band". And dammit, this is his best album yet and still. So. Let's review shall we?
Matthew Good Band - Beautiful Midnight (1999)
Matthew Good: vocals, guitar, keys
Dave Genn: keyboards, guitar
Ian Browne: drums, percusionist
Rich priske: bass
As said before, this is Matthew Good (Band)'s best album. A total of fourteen incredible songs, and none fail to bring the energy and beauty Matt is famous for. Though all songs are good, there are the lucky few that make my "Favorite Songs" playlist. An example:
The best song on here is the slow, powerful juggernaut that is labeled Suburbia
. Arguably the best riff by Matt Good since the simplicity of Apparitions
, this song clearly states that this is a great album. From it's dark opening riff and pounding drums, to Matt's spectacular performance playing a troubled suburban, as the song title suggests. But as the chorus rolls around, which has a strangely uplifiting feel to it, you begin to appreciate the variety the song has to offer, and that it's not just a depressing, drink-yourself-to-death kind of song. And stay in your seat; it's not even half over. For the span of 5:26, Matt and Co throw in a few elements to keep it interesting, like a string section adding to the darkness of the verse. So, what makes this song so special? It's like a ton of other Matt Good songs. True, but this song just has so much passion and you can really almost feel his
pain, not yours. A rare musical acheivement.
may be the best song on here, but there are plenty of others to keep the listener satisfied. The singles Hello Time Bomb
and Load Me Up
each demonstrate the radio-friendly Good, while also giving something unique to give the hardcore Good band listener. Load Me Up
is nothing short of an astonishing song, with it's shark-toothed riff followed by a burst of rhythm and an angry sounding Good, speaking of (I'm guessing) the End of something. That's all I can get, but while that's a lowly subject the passion of the music carries the song forth, and gradually introduces us to a fantastic chorus, with simple chords and a yelling vocal performance: "I'm Fratic! So Load Me Up!" is the hook, but also the post-chorus movement features a happier mode, as the chords are more fast paced and nicer sounding, and the vocals are more happy than anything. Hello Time Bomb
is a good single, but is less great as Load Me Up
. Starting with a synthesizer and Good giving his all, while overall mellow. Mellow, that is, until the chorus that features a fast paced drum-beat and chanting vocals. The only real change that occurs is the bridge that occurs about midway through the song. Featuring a rip-your-head-off solo and a chuggin' along rhythm section going back into a more enthusiastic verse, adding some chords and making the synthesizer more pronounced. Overall a good song, but nothing too special.
As far as I'm concerned, the opener Giant
could'nt have been better. It's nothing short of an anthem kind of thing. With it's opening, err, cheerleading riff of "K-I-C-K-A-S-S, THAT'S THE WAY WE SPELL SUCCESS!", you can tell this song is just going to be epic. As the chords ride under the chant, the verse kicks in with the chords (to a lesser extent) featured before, and a mellow vocal performance, as well as a great, complex drum-riff and a keepin' on bass riff from our freinds, the rhythm section. The chorus is even better, with a bit of fuzz on the slow, epic and downright perfect guitar riff that only bows down to the great vocal perfomance, which is, in it's own way, quite dark, with the lyrics "When you blow up like a dead star, it reminds me of uniform, you're beautiful". After a quick little solo (a quite impressive one, at that), the song goes back to it's original premise, a (to coin a phrase) kickass chord sequence, pounding drums and the cheerleaders taunting the oposing team. This is the perfect opener.
The best acoustic songs here are not hard to point out, seeing as there are only three or four to choose from. The second and third tracks, Strange Days
and I Miss New Wave
are either sad, uplifting and spectacular in means of performance (Strange Days
) or extremely depressing and, to a certain extent, powerful (I Miss New Wave
). The better, though, would have to be Strange Days
which isn't entirely acoustic, but is as effective as one could be. The solemn riff and (eventual) piano chords being split apart, and the very agile vocal performance, which showcases the band's calm and settling side. The chorus is a little less calm and soothing, but it's just as enjoyable, maybe even moreso. The thing about the chorus is that it's very powerful, and more than makes up for the power that the verse lacked. Everything from slow, epic drums to a keyboard pounding along with that spectacular guitar riff, which all is tucked under nicely the very incredible vocal performance. This is defintley a highlight. Though, to a certain extent, I Miss New Wave
may seem as promising, it's not as good as it's predecessor. After Strange Days
, you're feeling very uplifted. This song just plays with your emotions and slams them down to a very depressing level. And it's not even the lyrics (that much, as there's that very haunting line: The world is screaming, I miss new wave"), but rather the music that consists of minor chords and flats alike. But, casting the negative aside, this song packs a pretty good punch. A very mournful guitar riff occupies the majority of this song, and the impressive rhythm peformance steals the show. The chorus is depressing also, but the addition of strings makes this just that much more beautiful and listenable.
The finale is the slow piano driven piece Running For Home
, which boasts little more than a simple riff being slammed out of a piano, and a very impressive vocal performance showing Matt's incredible range, from whispering to shouting very passionatley. As the piano riff goes on, one can only light a lighter and swing it slowly back and forth in the air. ... Uh, ignoring that last lame metaphor... the song gradually makes it's move as it can tug at you're heartstrings very harshly, as the addition of very sad, mournful strings accompanying the piano. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can make this song better. And thank god, nothing does happen. After a beautiful musical interlude, the albums draws to a close with a minute of silence, a Matt Good Band trademark.
Overall: If you don't own this album, then go out and buy this. Right now. There are no bad songs, and all songs are unique, all equally enjoyable. If you think Load Me Up
is a spectacular song, you will definitley be amazed by this album. If you think Alert Status Red
is Matthew Good's best song, well, you need this. This will open your eyes to the variety, power, passion and occasional cheerfulness that is Matthew Good Band.