Top positive review
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Amazing album from a truly amazing artist
on September 12, 2007
This summer, there has been a string of particularly excellent 'rehab' albums. Wilco's 'Sky Blue Sky' saw Jeff Tweedy taking a lighter, apologetic approach as oppose to his brash experimental previous albums. As well, Ryan Adams found the consistency that won over many of his nay-sayers with June's amazing 'Easy Tiger'. And Matthew Good, who has recently come out and stated that he has been battling bi-polar disorder, has made an album that is earth-shattering, heartbreaking and purely incredible from start to finish.
Upon the first listen, I felt the first two minutes of the lengthy montage-riddled opener "Champions of Nothing" pretentious and even a bit tedious, which I felt didn't bode well for 'Hospital Music'. But looking back at Good's solo and band albums, he often uses these vices to portray political and human emotion; it's a part of his ever-growing, always-recognizeable repetoire. The most distinctive and beautiful part of this 'repetoire' is of course, his unique, gritty, emotion-filled voice which penetrates my heart so much that upon hearing many lines (too many to quote, in fact) on 'Hospital Music', sometimes I would feel my eyes close on their own, as I just tried to take in and accept the feelings he evoked inside of me.
Haunting. Gut-wrenching. Breathtaking. Any of those words perfectly describe the way 'Hospital Music' makes me feel on a very personal level. Perhaps because it is one of Good's most naked, personal albums to date. He shows everything, with nothing to hide and no shame or masking. Good proves himself yet again to be one of Canada's most revelant, most provokative, most individual, most emotive artists making music today. Although more known for his feuds with Chad Kroeger than for his music by many Canadians and virtually unheard of by international audiences, I don't think there is any way that 'Hosptail Music' would fail to find voice or heart for any single soul.
There isn't enough good things to say about 'Hospital Music'. It is perfect, or as perfect as an album can be. But the three most beautiful tracks on the album are 'Metal Airplanes'("there's nothing I can do about you" sings Good, showcasing his vulnerability and pain in a very pure, honest way), '99% Of Us is Failure' (the melodic, swelling chorus provides brilliant words of wisdom and reflection), and the more uptempo but still stark and wintery 'The Boy Come Home'.
Although 'Hospital Music' will probably never reach out to mass, mass audiences or become a number 1 smash hit worldwide, although it will probably never be remembered as a classic album in twenty years, what can be said about it, is that it captures the emotion and perfect feel of lost souls. It is extremely telling and relevant for the general feeling of youth culture in a society that seeks absolute truths. It is spectacularly dark and crisp and not overblown with production and false, masking instrumentation. It is just Good, singing of his sorrows and battles... and the sorrows and battles of a million others.
I am going to be shameless and say this is an extremely subjective review. I am also going to say that even if you think this album would never be your thing, you should REALLY give it a chance.