Saturday, December 3, 2022

Mattiel, "Those Words" (Track of the Week)

This week brought 2022's Spotify Wrapped, the moment of truth for music hipsters. We can tell people what we listen to, but the app gives us the numbers and it doesn't lie. I've found that my Wrapped can sometimes be a good indicator of my mental health in any given year. The year when "Weighless Again" by The Handsome Family was my number one was....not a good one. 

I was elated to see that most of my top ten, including my top two songs, were new ones rather than old favorites. In recent years I have been making an effort to listen to new music whenever possible. I wrote about my number one, Cate Le Bon's exquisite "Moderation," earlier this year. My number two comes from Mattiel, a band I liked so much that I bought their most recent album on CD and have been playing it constantly in my car. 

They get their name from lead singer Mattiel Brown, who grew up on a Georgia farm but makes post-punky music rather than country twang. Their aforementioned Georgia Gothic album was my favorite this year, but my favorite song wasn't on it. "Those Words" came out as a non-album single, a tradition in great need of being returned. 

The song is wonderfully bouncy with a pleasing jingle-jangle reminiscent of fellow Georgians REM. Brown's deep alto voice, as with most Mattiel songs, is the thing that elevates it beyond the usual indie rock. Its rich dark sound just holds together while giving extra zest, like putting brown sauce on an English breakfast. It's a song I put on many mornings as I boarded the commuter train, mixing my need to get pumped for the day with all the nagging doubts still there in my mind. 

A lot of stupid shit people say gets me mad, but little more than other dudes my age who like music saying they don't listen to anything new. As we age it's crucial to keep living in the now, and not in the past. I may not be the largest audience, but I am glad groups like Mattiel are out there for me to listen to. 

No comments: