Blues guitar is an instant mood-setter in any song, and for anyone who ever needed some proof supporting this fact, Matthew John’s “Let’s Begin Again” is a superb example of what fine-tuned, forlorn fretwork can do for an otherwise simple pop ballad. John slows down the swing of his strings for “Shine for Me,” but reminds us of the value in a slender arrangement of electric melancholy in his song “Reach for the Stars.” Exotic doesn’t even come close to summarizing the intrepid stylization of “You Are There,” but if you want to take a crack at defining the sonic elegance of John’s new EP, The Best of Matthew John, for yourself, then all you need to do is pick up a copy of this much-anticipated latest release from the inspired indie songwriter referenced in its title.
Lyrically, the four songs that comprise The Best of Matthew John are rather contemplative compared to most of the pop fodder that has been gaining momentum in 2019. “You Are There” and “Let’s Begin Again” have an air of retrospection in their prose, but their bouncy grooves keep the mood just light enough to support the harmonious hooks that both of the tracks proudly boast. John has always been pretty good about balancing melodic tension with a lot of substance-laden lyrical content, and this collection of ballads might be the most well-rounded look at his artistic profile of any you’re going to find when searching out his work online.
The master mix here is not quite as physical as I would have wanted it to be, but I can understand why Matthew John decided to go with this style of producing over something a bit more conceptually aggressive. Songs like “Reach for the Stars” and “Shine for Me” are already really forward and richly appointed with a ton of posh tonality, and in the case of these two tracks in particular, I can see where a more scooped EQ would have made it a lot more difficult to appreciate all of the color in the string parts. It would have made John’s vocal a little more emotive in some key spots, but even with this current mix, I don’t think that we’re missing out on the most cathartic moments that this music has to offer us.
Pop, rock and R&B fans like will absolutely find something to get into in this fabulous new extended play from Matthew John, who gives up fourteen minutes of upscale audio in this disc that go above and beyond what most of us would ask for in a hot indie record. My only real complaint about this EP is that it’s rather short, but as with all things in life, some of the very best things that we’ll ever encounter usually come in the smallest of packages. Four extraordinarily smooth songs dispatch four deeply unique styles of play from John in this release, and if you’ve been interested in learning more about him as an artist, and perhaps even more importantly, as a composer and lyricist, then this is definitely the EP that I would recommend you get before any other.