Matthew Genovese – Chasing the Sun – EP
I have to admit that I’ve never heard Matthew Genovese before today. That’s a shame for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the guy has won a lot of awards for best singer/songwriter and more over the years. For another thing, this set shows just how talented he is, so that means I’ve probably missed out on some great music. I need to see about catching up on his older stuff because I really love this one.
The first track bears the title “If I Can’t Have You.” It is all about leaving. It’s pretty and emotional and it’s a story of lost time. Genovese has some great vocal hooks. The music works well to support the lyrical and vocal message. This is compelling music that has a lot of modern alternative rock in the mix, but is based on a real classic sound. It’s both sad and empowering at the same time. It’s the kind of life story that most experience at one time or another. Who hasn’t been stuck in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want or respect that relationship? The decision to leave is a tough, but important one. It’s a pivotal moment in life that opens up new opportunities in a leap of faith. Genovese seems to capture all of that in this musical journey.
“Strange Paradise” immediate feels more vulnerable and gentle. It’s a bit playful. The arrangement is more stripped back. It almost seems related to the opener. One can read it as a step along the journey away. It reflects second thoughts along the road. “Strange Paradise” seems to refer to the new world, full of magic, but also some regret. Although he considers turning the car around, one gets the impression he won’t.
With a lot of horns in the mix, “Time’s Tickin’ Away” has a great groove. It seems that Genovese is still living with regrets of a lost love here. Thinking longingly of the past has never sounded this good. The bluesy guitar fills add a lot to this. The lyrics seem to tell the tale of a man watching the time go by as he admires his old love from the distance and wants to convince her to try again.
There is down-home intensity to “Nothing That I Do.” While the banjo brings some bluegrass to it, in some ways it’s more modern pop than anything else here. It still seems tied into the same themes. It seems like the main person in the song is still longing to be loved by his lady. He’s trying hard to get her to “leave those other loves behind.” He believes that if she does that, “nothing that I do is a waste of time.” Somehow it gives the impression that he’s fighting a losing fight, though. It seems like a doomed cause. It’s like the listener understands that while he doesn’t get it.
The final cut is “Time Won’t Heal Me.” It seems to be the end of the story. He keeps trying to reach his beloved, but she won’t answer the phone. The music is very stripped back and slow. This is a sad song and the vocal delivery is vulnerable. He sounds like a broken man and it’s hard not to get caught up in his emotion. Sometimes sad songs are the best songs. It’s been said that pain creates some of the greatest art. So, it’s no surprise that the saddest moment of this EP is the best.
While this might not have been intended as one story, it sure reads that way. Matthew Genovese has created a serious of musical stories that works extremely well. This seems to be a love lost story. Really aren’t the best stories love lost stories? The music and vocal performances work well to convey the meaning behind the lyrics. Ultimately, it’s the lyrics that hold the greatest magic.
by Mary Angela Tobin, approved by Mindy McCall
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Score: 10 of 10