Matthew John drops “Best of” LP
The Best of Matthew John is a four-track collection from a singer/songwriter that enchants the listener with moving words and tight musical orchestrations. Matthew John, an east coaster with a heart of gold, transforms his simple-yet powerful lyrics into bright tunes. Just wishing it isn’t an achievement, having John’s voice in the listener’s ear is a reminder that dreams, and goals take time…but don’t ever give up.
John, based in Philadelphia, is a true artist in the sense that he takes risks and channels an honest delivery. “You Are There,” one his first tracks, is a pivotal start and enjoyable introduction. The song really captures the breadth of positivity and overtly life-changing lyrics. He sings “it’s never an easy road” and does so with a joyful, subdued guitar riff and orchestration. He gives full focus to the words in all of this songs. In “Shine For Me” he revisits a place of “good” and “bad” and paints a picture of a loved one watching over him, encouraging him at each step. It’s thought that this someone, this person looking from above and “shining” for him is his late grandfather.
One song that departs from this inspirational prose is “Let’s Begin Again.” John seems to dive a bit deeper into his musical well and creates a grittier guitar riff – focused sound. As in the other tracks, there’s just a subtle amount of percussion, but the goods in “Let’s Begin Again” lie in the guitar riffs and the interesting bridge he creates. Lyrically, the song is solid and doesn’t stretch too far into Avant-garde territory. Finally, “Reach For the Stars” reminds the listener that “stumbling” along the way is a necessary evil to achieving one’s goals and dreams.
These songs are all very lovely, enjoyable and easy-listening. At times the guitar work in “You Are There” has a bit of a country-tinge; in “Shine For Me” it’s a softer, guitar sound; in “Reach For the Stars” similar and as aforementioned, “Let’s Begin Again” has hints of blues-rock guitar work.
It’s important to note, though, that John does not possess (in these songs) the greatest of vocal range. He does accomplish some improvement in this area in the song “Let’s Begin Again.” He seems to keep up with the music side of things in this track. To be fair, songs like “You Are There” and “Reach For the Stars” may not require the same passion and enthusiasm in delivery. However, the song “Shine For Me” really could have used a powerful voice to illustrate the power of love. Still, kudos to Matthew John for taking his art in any direction – good or bad.
The Best of Matthew John seems to be a springboard for what’s to come for a developing writer and talented story teller. John’s perspective is welcomed – he has a fresh voice and attitude. The musical arrangements need a bit more pizzazz, as does his voice needs some training. Still he’s worth listening to; fans of country music and Christian rock will find these songs enjoyable.