Mathew Browning – Love & Grief
So few pop musicians in 2018 place any genuine value on making music that is textured and multilayered; music that is, in essence, a giant equation the fuses love, pain and dynamic, individualized artistry into something that can be palatable to the masses. Texture in music is everything, and you could even argue that it has been the most vividly expressive artists who have impacted the history of music more than any others. The relative lack of this kind of appreciation among mainstream artists is a big reason why Matthew Browning’s music is as appealing as it is, but it far from the only reason.
Listening to his single “I Walked Over the Edge” for the first time, I felt like I was being introduced to an artist who clearly is adept at expressing color in every note his dispatches. He has an unstoppable glow about him, a radiant sense of command over his lyrics and the music behind them. Nothing feels like it was shoved together and packaged to sell us a concept instead of an artist’s identity. This is total exposure, and it’s sensuous, at times cryptic, and relentlessly full of vibrant vitality. In other words, it blew my mind.
I would be more the curious to see how this style of psychedelic-influenced adult contemporary/pop would translate in a live setting. He could strip everything down for a stage show or maximize all of the soundscapes he creates in the studio, but I think that regardless of which approach he takes, the performance could be a particularly memorable one. Matthew Browning strikes me as the kind of person who lives and breathes art. This isn’t just a part-time gig for him. This is life itself, and his music reflects as much devotion within the framework of its sound.
“Underneath the Willow Tree,” another single from his debut album Love & Grief, is my pick for breakthrough single of the year. Not only does it bring an entirely new flavor to indie pop, but it is by far the most accessible and ready-made hit from a young artist that I’ve heard since I started writing about music full-time a couple of years ago. I was told by a colleague that I was going to really love Matthew Browning’s understated rhythms and silky soft voice, but I didn’t think I would go from googling his name to see who he is to writing an article describing him as the best artist I’ve listened to all year.
Matthew Browning is one part his native Tennessee, one part his adoptive home Colorado, and one hundred percent American innovation through and through. In an era that has seen substantially weak output from American indie artists, Browning stands out as a revolutionary voice that seeks to revive our domestic scene from its artistic slumber. If you’re looking to support organic indie rock born and bred right here in the USA, I don’t think you can beat what Love & Grief and its two stellar singles have got to offer.