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patrickjnixon

Moving Walls Released!!!

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2 hours ago, gweeps said:

Jesus. All I asked was folks' opinion of a unique song in his catalogue.

Its probably my least favourite song on the album.  Its also different to hear Matt sing in French.  It sounds like he's doing an alright job of it though!  It is neat in its own way.

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25 minutes ago, Sly Botts said:

Its probably my least favourite song on the album.  Its also different to hear Matt sing in French.  It sounds like he's doing an alright job of it though!  It is neat in its own way.

Thanks.

I've bought the CD now, so I can listen for myself.

I was just curious because no one had mentioned it yet.

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4 hours ago, RickDalton said:

A Thousand Tons and Parts has grown on me I give the album 7/10

Really loving A Thousand Tons. Wouldn’t be out of place on Loser Anthems....right after Flight Recorder From Viking 7. 

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Even though the songs have sonic weight, this new album has a subdued, meditative nature to it. Maybe it's the absence of electric guitars and more orchestration?
 
Lumiere noire is a fine example of how quietly lush Moving Walls really is. Whispers inside a snowstorm.
Edited by gweeps
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I'm really curious about the decision to go back to We Have Done This Before, We Will Do It Again and incorporate part of it into the song Parts. Like did he have the rest of the song and he fit the section in, did he like that section and build the song around it...I just gots to know!! lol

I was (and still am) super smitten with that demo. So having the album close out on Parts just puts me in my feels. Get shivers.

Edited by emmit643

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This album definitely needs a little time and more than one listen to sink in.   It requires a bit of patience because it is long and there is a whole lot of melancholy, but it's very much the kind of music Matt does best.  I like the mature sound of it.  At first I thought it was a bit too same-y, but different things are quickly being revealed with each listen.  

This album has a couple distinctions.  There is not a single rock/ing song on here, a first for Matt and I quite like it.  He didn't feel obligated to throw some in.  It seems he did what he wanted.  It also seems to contain much less hooks than most of his albums and the choruses are largely quite understated to me.

My favourite songs right now are A Momentary Truth (this one has some great melody and sounds quite different for Matt to me), Beauty, Boobytrapped, Selling You My Heart and Thorn Bird.  I also like Dreading It, Radicals, Lumière Noire (wasn't a big fan of the idea of him doing a French song but the song sounds really nice with some interesting guitar and Matt does a pretty solid job with the French.), and One Of Them Years quite a bit.  My least favourite is between Your Rainy Sound, Fingernails, Sicily and The Heights.  A Thousand Tons is growing on me slowly and Parts is quite decent.  The production of this album is very good and the orchestral parts are a very nice addition.  

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I forgot to mention it in my earlier post, but the eerie sound that runs through a Thousand Tons seems very similar to the one he used on All Together. The only difference seems to be the pitch, which is much higher on All Together. Did anybody else notice this? I really appreciate those types of atmospheric additions to studio recordings.

Also, the end of Dreading It is very reminiscent of Lights for me, due to the strumming of chords on the acoustic guitar and the blaring horns. I love it 

This album also has me wondering what sort of setlists he’ll be constructing. If he goes into the tour with the same thought process as the album, could he potentially eliminate some of his bigger singles from the shows? I’m fairly certain, but every show I’ve ever been to, he’s played Apparitions, Load Me Up, Born Losers, and Weapon, save for the acoustic shows. Alert Status Red and Hello Time Bomb are other songs that have made appearances at nearly every full band show until the co-headlining tour he played with Our Lady Peace.

If he enjoys playing these songs, then I say go for it. However, if he plays them simply to placate casual ticket-buyers, maybe he’ll consider dumping or limiting them and adding other songs that the band has already played recently. I don’t expect him to pay the band to learn 150 songs by any means, but maybe he can limit the songs he’s tired of or feels he’s overplayed. Since he usually expects the band to learn the entire new album, it seems like there could be a load of variation from show to show. I really want to see the show he wants to perform and not what we perceive a majority of casual concertgoers to want. 

I know there are financial concerns and we all have to live. I would just really love to see him build a set of his favourite originals, with a couple covers thrown in perhaps.

Edited by NonPopulus

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Dreading It is currently my favourite. It has a real emotional thrust to it.

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5 hours ago, NonPopulus said:

This album also has me wondering what sort of setlists he’ll be constructing. If he goes into the tour with the same thought process as the album, could he potentially eliminate some of his bigger singles from the shows? I’m fairly certain, but every show I’ve ever been to, he’s played Apparitions, Load Me Up, Born Losers, and Weapon, save for the acoustic shows. Alert Status Red and Hello Time Bomb are other songs that have made appearances at nearly every full band show until the co-headlining tour he played with Our Lady Peace.

Tough to say.  Matt has expressed different sentiments at different times in regard to what he might do with future setlists.  At times he has seemed to express a wish to do things like play complete albums like Lights, or to dip into more deeper cuts, other times he has talked about maybe just playing 4-5 new songs per show because he had more of an obligation to the average fan at the shows, and at other times he plays most of the new album at shows.It definitely keeps things interesting because even going to multiple shows on the same tour I legitimately have no idea what to expect and it makes the shows incredibly exciting! 

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Having had about a week with this album now I figure I'd provide a review here, although I suspect it will continue to shift in my perception for some time.  

- I really enjoy the production on this album, on my vinyl album it sounds just fantastic, on the more stripped down songs it really feels like Matt is in my living room strumming gently and softly singing right in front of me.  The balance of the instruments is perfectly executed and there is a noticeable and clear separation in them that allows me to single them out and listen to how each contributes to the song.  Matt's vocals are dynamic and clear above it all, but mixed in well so as not to feel isolated from the music itself.  These performances feel organic, I'm not sure if these tracks were recorded in isolation or if some are recorded with the band off the floor, but some of the performances like "Beauty" really feel almost like a live performance, there is a cohesion there that gives it an immediate feel, even if that isn't how it was in fact recorded.  Also really enjoy the use of strings on some of these tracks to add some tension and drama.  Kudos to Warne for an amazing job on the aspects of this ones sonics. 
- People have said this reminds them of a combination of Lights and Hospital Music, and I agree, but I'd also add the production itself definitely reminds me of Audio of Being in some parts too and the strings and arrangements on some songs recall Avalanche.  This album to me seems to be a melting pot of many of the different styles he has employed throughout his solo career, and I think there is something very interesting in that.  In one way it doesn't have a distinctness in and of itself, but in another way it feels both new and familiar, and the entire record flows pretty well together, these songs all blend more than say Chaotic Neutral which although I love that album, does seem to be a bit more of a haphazard collection of different distinct styles.  
- This one is clearly missing hard edged rock songs...but I feel those performances have been my least favourite on recent MG albums.  In light of his comments on this thread it may be because he feels obligated to write them and maybe isn't as passionate for them, because they come off a bit more generic, a rock song for the sake of a rock song.  That's not to say that I feel that way about all Matt's rock songs, in face he's one of my favourite writers of that format and he brought something really intriguing to that format, especially lyrically, but I've got to admit, I don't really miss those songs here, though it does give the album a more wholly somber feel, I feel like nothing feels forced about it.  Imagine something like "Had It Coming" jammed into the middle of this album? It would be jarring and disrupt the mood the albums strains hard to create.  
- That brings me back to the flow of the album.  There are some MG albums that just flow almost like one long theme, these are albums that I find nearly impossible to listen to on shuffle, or to cherry pick songs from.  This is the first album since Lights that I have felt this way about.  Obviously this style of record production isn't for everyone, but for me it's so key in Matt's music.  It's almost cinematic in the way themes and atmosphere are carried over across the tracks.  Arrows, Chaotic and SLAS all felt much more random and stitched together.  On Chaotic I thought it surprisingly worked, but the other two not so much.  

-One of my criticism's is that the album feels maybe a little too long.  I'm not the kind of person who thinks art should always be short, succinct and easily digestible.  I always think it's bizarre when friends of mine chose what movie to watch based on length as I think it's ridiculous to judge something solely on length.  Sometimes movies and albums need to run to longer lengths to encapsulate the story, mood or feelings they are trying to express.  With that said there are plenty of examples of art that I felt actually accomplished what it was trying to without needing to extend, and that by that extension actually somewhat dilutes the strength and impact of that statement.  Matt's two longest albums prior to this one were Beautiful Midnight and Avalanche.  On the one hand, I wouldn't excise a second from Beautiful Midnight, with Avalanche though, there is a couple tracks that seem a bit redundant or out of place, and I truly believe if the album was less those two tracks it would be a more solid, thorough statement and would balance the album a bit more as I find it somewhat front loaded. On the other end of the spectrum you have Lights at 43 minutes, but I think additions would have only hurt it's strength, even though I do love some of the demos from that era that never made it on that album.  Moving Walls is a bit more like Avalanche to me in that regard where I think it's length detracts from it's strengths.  On the vinyl release, I find sides A and B to be pretty flawless actually, even though I'm not a big fan of Sicily, those two sides flow very well and it makes sense to have the lead single on side A.  Side C is where I find the first songs that really aren't doing much for me, and Lumiere Noir, I actually love the musical aspects here, it's one of my favourites on the album in that regard, especially the well executed guitar solo, but something that really pulls me into Matt's music is my ability to connect lyrically to the concept of a song and to relate words and feelings to his vocal inflections.  I don't have an issue with him signing a song in French, but my uncultured self is unable to relate to that song in the same capacity as the others, because even reading translated lyrics, I can't quite relate the way I usually am to his songs.  Side D returns to pretty strong form to close the album out.   

For songs my favourites would be: 
One of Them Years - a perfect opener for this album
Beauty 
Boobytrapped 
Radicals
A Thousand Tons 
Selling You My Heart 
Thorn Bird

When I first listened to the album I thought it was quite a bit front loaded, the second half wasn't resonating with me much, but on subsequent listens I've really come to enjoy most of that half too.  There is only three songs on the record that I don't really care for:
Your Rainy Sound
Fingernails 
Parts - Matt's albums usually have incredible closers, and this one just isn't connecting much

Overall I am very much enjoying this album, it has all the things I've come to enjoy about Matt's work and some very memorable songs.  It's early still, but at this point I would actually put this as my third favourite of his solo albums, behind Avalanche and Vancouver.  Obviously it won't be my first choice if I'm in the mood to rock out, but if I want that mellow, personal introspective feel it definitely will be near the top of the pile.  One thing I'm excited about is how these songs will translate live, and which songs he'll choose to play.  With 15 tracks I can't imagine he'll play them all with any regularity, so it will be interesting to see which choices are made.  Also with these more mellow songs, often when performed live they take on a different kind of energy and intensity.  Things like Empty's Theme Park and Non Populus were performed live with a much harder edge than on record and remain my definitive versions of those songs.  Can't wait to see how these tracks are presented on stage! 
 

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Okay, so after a week of listening, I finally feel like I’m at a place where I can articulate my thoughts. 

The following is my review of Matt’s new record; noticing the scant online coverage for Moving Walls, I purposely wrote in a more formal voice here as I intend to post this in a couple different places. Hopefully, this write-up will have some legs, or at the very least, raise some awareness for the record.

***Quick note: In addition to the new-album thread, I’ve decided to ‘double post’ this in the album-rankings thread (which I started a few weeks back) as well, since it pretty much sums up my thoughts on both topics.

 

Moving Walls: The Beauty in the Struggle

 

From his impressive run in the mid-‘90s (by way of of the alt-rock band that shared his name), to his sustained ‘under the radar’ success as a solo artist, Matthew Good has been redefining the expectations of his audience for the better part of three decades. And with his ninth solo release, Moving Walls, the Canadian singer-songwriter re-establishes what longtime fans have known for years: Matthew Good is writing the best music of his career.

Good himself has used the term ‘adult contemporary’ when trying to describe Moving Walls, and while the tag certainly fits (at least in a general sense), it ultimately undersells the album’s depth and scope. Where recent outings often felt like the work of an artist struggling to find a balance between expectation and inspiration (marked by Good’s attempts to offset his increasingly atmospheric ballads with amps-to-eleven rockers), Moving Walls is brazenly unapologetic; from start to finish Good plays to his strengths, leaning heavily on concise arrangements, confessional lyrics, and some incredibly inspired vocals.

Case in point being the dynamic album-opener “One of Them Years”, a brooding number that finds Good dispensing biting bursts of dense, Dylan-esque prose over a circular chord-progression. Subtly switching gears, “A Momentary Truth” echoes the upbeat folk of Hospital Music’s “The Boy Come Home”, while the appropriately-titled “Beauty” further showcases Good’s ever-evolving lyrical abilities.

Combining a staccato piano-line, thunderous backbeat, and Good’s soaring vocals, the album’s first single, “Sicily”, judiciously channels the singer’s alt-rock roots to great effect. “Boobytrapped”, on the other hand, leans heavily on a beautifully recorded string-section while “Radicals” confidently waltzes its way through one lyrical gem after another, closing out one of the more solid opening salvos in Good’s catalog.

Next up is a trio of standout tracks (the stunning, six-minute rocker “Dreading It”, the snare-driven “Your Rainy Sound”, and the lush, understated “Fingernails”), each of which adds a healthy dose of energy and momentum to the album’s second act. 

Lumiere Noire” (notable for Good’s decision to sing the entire song in French) features a brilliant acoustic solo while one of Moving Walls most intimate moments comes courtesy of “A Thousand Tons”, a beautifully orchestrated three-and-a-half minute emotional crescendo that easily could’ve found a home on 2011’s Lights of Endangered Species.

Another expertly-crafted slice of mid-tempo folk-rock, “The Heights” sets the stage for the stunning ballad “Selling You My Heart”, a heartbreakingly candid song that has ‘instant classic’ written all over it. “Thorn Bird” evokes the lush atmosphere of 2003’s Avalanche, marrying sparse, shimmering chords with one of the record’s strongest vocal performances while “The Parts” provides the album with an appropriately introspective coda.

It’s understandably tempting to try and measure an artist’s latest release against their past work, and in the case of Moving Walls, the most obvious point of reference is probably 2007's Hospital Music. There are plenty of similarities (both albums are largely acoustic and feature fifteen songs clocking in at over an hour), but where the former often sounded like a necessary catharsis, the introspective mood permeating Moving Walls feels like a deliberate artistic choice. To take the analogy a step further, if Hospital Music was the sound of a man picking up the pieces, Moving Walls is what he ultimately turned those pieces into.

The album is dense, but far from impenetrable, and repeated listens reveal an incredibly nuanced mix; Moving Walls is easily one of best ‘sounding’ records Matthew Good has released. To that point, it’s easy to imagine Moving Walls as a template for the next stage of Good’s career, one where he follows in the footsteps of fellow countryman Neil Young, refusing to acquiesce to the established narrative that attempts to paint aging rockers into that ‘shut up and play the hits’ corner.

Moving Walls isn’t a flawless record (given the prevalence of ballads, especially on the back-half, mileage may vary depending on mood), but it’s pretty damn close, and is sure to please longtime fans. Either way, for the first time in years, it sounds like the only person Matthew Good was ‘trying’ to please was himself, which makes Moving Walls a win/win for everyone.

 

My final thoughts:

So there you have it. As you can probably guess, I love the record. Matt’s really outdone himself and Moving Walls more than exceeded my expectations. I don’t think I’ve been this impressed with a release since Lights, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in both cases, he’s chosen to back off the electric guitar, and focus on placing the lyric and mood front and center.

I’m hesitant to give it a ranking (I mean, it’s only been a week), but if I had to say right now, I’d probably place Moving Walls in my top-3 favorite Matt Good releases, behind only Lights of Endangered Species and Chaotic Neutral. 

 

If by any chance you happen to read this, hats off Mr. Good.

Edited by Williammunny11
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Listened through the album once.  Yes a departure from the last several albums, much more personal sounding, distorted guitars not really featured, more of a singer-songwriter album.   Hearing more Matt up front on this album musically, plus Blake and many backing instruments.

As always, I love some songs (One of Them Years, Thorn Bird, Sicily, Radicals), I like others, and some don't grab me as much.  Haven't delved too much into the lyrics yet, wanted to just listen first.  I love the violin on Radicals, something very unique on an MG album.  Blake is phenomenal as always.

Was meh on the album at first but quickly grew on me as I got to the end.  A lot of his albums you can put on in the car & it will pump you up, but this one is calmer, I can sit under a tree in the spring and enjoy this one.

 

This tour going to be full band or acoustic?

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I initially wanted to wait until I could get the physical copy of the record before I gave it a listen. That's usually what I do. But I couldn't find one so I had to buy it online. So my first listen was on Spotify, which was disappointing (and a symptom of what Matt described in his comment).

On my first listen, I was surprised. What hit me the most was the cohesion. The whole record is kind of like a long song in movements. I think that's cool. Also, I like songs that don't have a chorus. I try to do that myself when I write a song. To me, once you've said something, you don't need to repeat it ad nauseam. I'm not against choruses but I like how a chorusless song is often more creative because you need to have something to say. We all know Matt has a lot to say. He nails this on most of the songs.

Initially, it took me a while to appreciate Sicily. I'm not in love with the song but I love the musical structure.

I instantly fell in love with One of Them Years, A Momentary Truth, Boobytrapped, Dreading It, Lumière Noire, A Thousand Tons, The Heights and Selling You My Heart (when the single came out).

The lyrics to One of Them Years and the strangeness of A Thousand Tons blew me away instantly.

Then I got the CD on wednesday and started listening to the record again, on repeat. From there I started loving Your Rainy Sound, Thorn Bird.

I don't like Radicals at all. Given Matt's post in this thread, I get what he was going for with the record, but to me, that song misses the target.

As for Beauty, Fingernails and Parts, they're OK.

The record itself is great though as a whole. Like I said, it's like a long song with different movements. It's definitely got a certain feel to it, you're not going to drive into the sun with the windows down listening to this (and that's not what he was going for).

My favourite record from Matt is Lights. This one is more of a curveball (to use his expression) but it's a pretty good one. The only thing missing for me is his epic songs he tends to do. Lights had Non Populus which, to me, is his best song ever. I adore it and still listen to it regularly, Hospital Music had Champions, Vancouver had Empty's Theme Park and so on. But again, from what Matt said, that's not what he was going for, so, fair enough.

As for the rock thing mentionned in this thread, I never cared for a style. I listen to everything he has to offer. If he'd release a country record, I'd give it a go. I'm a fan of his writing, music and especially lyrics.

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The first listen I wasn't so sure - but I had the same feeling with Something Like a Storm - so I kept listening and it grew on me as well. 

I agree that this is a front to back listen so making the time for it makes me disagree with those saying this is not Matt. It's heavy, uplifting, hopeful, sad, perplexing and enlightening with musical accompaniment that rests in your heart. The sequence/story 1-4 and 11-15 is more clear to me than the middle. But Your Rainy Sound is significant. This song, I love. And my initial thoughts were at first, is this unfinished (death is a blanket and sometimes you fold it; significant meaning but where is the rest of it)?  But what are "my" expectations of a finished song? A painter once told me sometimes his work isn't  "finished" because it is already what it is meant to be. Now the song rests with me where it is and where it must have been meant to be. 

Ok for my favourite songs - Thousand Tons, Thorn Bird, Your Rainy Sound, and Parts. (and of course also  One of Them Years, Sicily, Selling You My Heart, Momentary Truth, Heights) (Ok I see I just listed half the album )

The cynicism is still there. Just with less anger as before (imo)

Thanks for giving us this Matt. 

Looking forward to the concert.  Right in front of me.

 

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A Momentary Truth reminds me of Born Losers. I wonder if it's a sequel?

Edited by gweeps

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8 hours ago, gweeps said:

A Momentary Truth reminds me of Born Losers. I wonder if it's a sequel?

I want to publicly apologize to you.  When you made the comment about Matt's song I thought you were one of the trolls who comes on here once every album is released to trash the album and not post again until the next release. You actually seem like a good guy. Hope you are here on the Bored to stay.  I am glad I was wrong. 

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35 minutes ago, foats said:

I want to publicly apologize to you.  When you made the comment about Matt's song I thought you were one of the trolls who comes on here once every album is released to trash the album and not post again until the next release. You actually seem like a good guy. Hope you are here on the Bored to stay.  I am glad I was wrong. 

No worries. I've been a MG fan for over 20 years.

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I love Parts. He took the best part (ha ha) from that earlier demo for this one. Love the mellotron.

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I think even though Chaotic Neutral is very varied (which is something I really like about it), it does somehow flow decently, it works.  I'm surprised to see anyone that doesn't think Arrows has a good flow.  I think it has a fantastic order.

I quite appreciate the consistentcy of Moving Walls.  The only thing is, with an album this long it can get a bit much.

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10 hours ago, Manchalivin said:

I think even though Chaotic Neutral is very varied (which is something I really like about it), it does somehow flow decently, it works.  I'm surprised to see anyone that doesn't think Arrows has a good flow.  I think it has a fantastic order.

I quite appreciate the consistentcy of Moving Walls.  The only thing is, with an album this long it can get a bit much.

I do think Arrows has a good flow to it. It's honestly top 3 of his solo releases for me. 

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Posted (edited)

Moving Walls Review 2.0

Never been good about being brief, and for better/worse this post won’t be any different. Figured I’d write a second review after having had a little more time to sit, listen and feel out the new album. I like to do this some times as I believe both first and evolving perceptions are important when it comes to music (and any art really). Likewise, after thinking some more last night about what Matt said concerning perceptions, I ended up having to concede a point he made too and admit to myself that the album has for sure grown on me.

Preface

So, first I wanted to address a couple things I’ve thought about with regards to some responses to my original post, both from Matt and others. While I stand by some of the statements I made,  and have already admitted others were in poor creation, I can definitely understand why I some of what I initially wrote would also come off as pretentious and arrogant. As I said, there are times when I am very careful about the words I choose and others when I am not. To that point, and in response to Matt understandably questioning the idea that others would know how his sonics “should” sound, I’ll fully admit that was an extremely poor choice of word use on my part. Obviously only Matt knows what his music is supposed to do and where it’s supposed to travel. I can now partially count myself among those kinds of special people that he and Ryan Dahle mocked in their spoof demo, ‘Free Download’ (“Why don’t you give us your expert opinion?” lol). In place of suggesting that certain songs “should” have had certain progressions that did not occur, I should have written that I “would have appreciated” to see them go in certain directions that they didn’t. I had hoped by stating at the end of my post that all of the above was nothing more than my subjective opinion that people would understand I wasn’t saying my opinion was anything more than my opinion, but in such a long section of writing, I  suppose I can understan why people focused on only specific points (especially Matt since it's his music).

Next, on the notion that I exclaimed “This isn’t the Matthew Good I know!”, to be clear, I did not use use that tone and did not make that statement in the way it was hyperbolized. The exclamation mark indicates anger and also that I think I am entitled to something from someone else.  Again, to be clear, I would never in a million years get angry over someone having a different perspective than I do (even if I do sometimes get disappointed which is my own issue to deal with) and I do not think Matt owes me anything. If anything, despite all the money I’ve spent over the years on concert tickets, albums, and merch, I still owe him far more than I can ever repay given what his music has done for me over my lifetime. When I said the songs don’t really sound like Matt Good songs to me that was, again, perhaps a poor choice of words on my part. Matt, as an artist, has always been someone who tries to avoid repeating himself and I respect that about him. Likewise there is absolutely nothing wrong with exploration save for the fact that some times not everyone is going to appreciate what that exploration yields (as is the case with any subjective medium). While  stand by the opinion that the album reminds me of Our Lady Peace's "Burn, Burn" for the reasons I listed, I should have also simply written that some of the songs are very different from anything Matt has ever done and that those specific ones really weren’t something that connected with me as a listener upon a first listen because they didn't sound distinctive to me compared to other artists. More to the point, I was also referencing that in every other album that has come before this one, even if I didn’t like certain songs, and even if they had a different genre that Matt was exploring, I still appreciated that, imo, they had a certain feel to them that still would allow people to identify them as Matt’s, even without his vocals. I honestly can’t explain what that feel is, but it’s just something that I’ve always noticed and appreciated.  Again, this is nothing more than my subjective opinion and obviously given the responses to Moving Walls I am in an extremely tiny minority of fans who feel this way.

Furthermore, I am not by any means a person who pines for Load Me Up 2.0 or Hello Time Bomb 6.0. In fact, for the most part, while I have nothing against the singles since they are what hooked me initially, it has always been the non singles and deeper cuts from albums that have kept me so enamored with Matt’s music. Omissions of the Omen, Generation X-Wing, The Inescapable Us, I the Throw Away, A Sort of Protest Song, The Fall of Man, Hopeless, Empty Road, Extraordinary Fades, Los Almos, and Cold Water are some of my favorite songs from any artist anywhere. Hell, I even the love the pre-LOTGA stuff that he did with Steve, Judy, Eran, and Ariel (Bluebird is one of my favorite songs of all time). While I’m still not proud of myself for having written a hastily half thought out and at times rough review that Matt ended up reading, I do still stand by the fact that the opinions I expressed are simply my own subjective feelings- nothing more and nothing less, as everyone is allowed to have.

Actual Second Review

However, as I said at the top, my perception on the album has admittedly lightened and improved a fair amount over the last week and a half. Simply put, after a week of listening to it every day while driving around town I’m able to appreciate it more and that may continue as the weeks and months go on.

If I were to pinpoint why this is I suppose it would have to do with the initial strong points that stood out to me originally- mainly the inspired/hopeful/driven lyrical content and complimenting instrumentals that go along with most of the songs. As I said in my first post, I think more than any other album Matt has ever created this one was crafted to make sure the lyrical content was front and center while the instrumentals more so simply act as a vessel to transport the message in the lyrics to the listener. And man, these are admittedly some beautifully crafted and uplifting lyrics. Like Adam said, the inflection in his voice when he sings a lot of the lines in this album is incredibly potent (even when you don’t know what he is saying in a song like Lumiere Noire, for example). Perhaps the best example of this is Your Rainy Sound. Despite being more focused on the sonics of the song initially, I have to admit the “death is a blanket; sometimes you fold it” lyric, and the way he sings that line along with the instrumental backing, is one of the most powerful things I have ever heard. In fact, all of the lyrics in that song are just fantastic. Likewise, after listening it multiple times, I am getting over the fact that it didn’t go where I was initially expecting it to go. Hell, even the songs that aren’t meant to be uplifting (see One of Them Years) are so passionate that it’s difficult not to appreciate them. Radicals is another one that I’ve started liking and listening to more even though I wasn’t really captured by it at first. Even though it’s very different for Matt, the 1800s vibe it has is really intriguing to me for some reason and keeps bringing me back.

To be sure, there are still songs that do very little for me (A Momentary Truth, Booby Trapped, Fingernails, and Parts) but even those one are difficult to not at least partially admire simply because of the formidable lyrical content. Beauty, for another example, is a song where even though I’m not a huge fan of the instrumental writing, I’m beginning to appreciate it a lot more because of the lyrics Matt wrote for it. In fact I’d say they’re some of the strongest and most introspective lyrics Matt has ever written. I love “There’s beauty in the struggle, and beauty in the cost, if along the way that beauty wasn’t lost” and how it relates to all the other potent lines of revelation in the song. The interesting thing is that the appreciation for the lyrics to an extent ends up making me appreciate the instrumental sections more too.

Likewise, after reading Matt’s explanation of A Thousand Tons, I’m really starting to appreciate that one more now as a whole. It’s like listening to someone paint a story and explain their emotions as it progresses along. It's very emotionally resonant, haunting, hopeful and sad all at the same time when viewed as a story, especially given the direction it heads  nd how it eventually ends up back at the beginning just before really taking off. If it wasn't for Matt bothering to explain his process on that song, I might not view it the way I do now. Don't get me wrong, I still stand by my opinion that I “personally” would like to see more going on instrumentally on certain songs during their album endings (see Last Parade, So Close, Great Whales of the Sea, What if I can’t See the Stars, Mildred?) and in the progressions of certain songs, but that is again nothing more than a personal opinion that comes from the fact that I am a huge lover of instrumental crescendos and peaks (probably due to listening to so much/too much Explosions in the Sky) and I fully admit that just because I feel something does not make it true. It’s just a perception and I fully understand that Matt of course has other motives at times and is obligated to follow them as an artist. He is, after all, an artist first and foremost, far more so than he will ever be entertainer and I can definitely respect/accept that.

Lastly, again, I really do fucking adore Dreading It. To me, even though I can’t decipher all the lyrics yet, because of both the lyrics and the instrumental writing in that song, out of all the songs on the album it probably connects with me the most. In fact it made the buying the album more than worth it and got me thinking about how even if there is only one song per album that I love, I’d be happy to pay a hundred dollars to be able to hear it. Dreading It is with out a doubt that song for me. The audio about Brooke Robinson, the intro with just the drums and a bit of guitar feedback, followed by the lead guitar picking mixed with the driving bass line, the way it jumps higher to that triumphant chorus punctuated by the horns, the choir sounds as it comes out of the chorus, and especially the brief bridge that leads into the driven and propelled end are all very formidable and meaningful for me. Like I said, I also really like the lyrics that are descriptive, cryptic, and straight forwards all at different times ("a suitcase of air and ketamine" vs. "She said hold me tight and don't forget about yesterday and all the things you said to me"). Aside from all of it making you think and decipher meanings, Matt also seems to reference clowns a few times in this album and he does so here again with a line about Emmett Kelly which makes me wonder if it's some how connected to the Sicily video given that he referenced the nature of clowns while giving an interview about that video too. All of that considered I really do find this song fascinating and exciting. It's like the equivalent of a very well crafted and introspective adventure/mystery movie.  While again I "personally" would have liked to hear a bit more going on with the drums at the end of the song, I really do over all very much appreciate the drum lines that Blake came up with for this song as a whole too (love the busy snare), and the ending as a whole still really does manage to have an impact for me (love those horns) .

Ultimately, even though this album as a whole still ranks near the bottom of my list of MG/MGB albums, it has definitely has grown on me and I can appreciate Matt’s point about trying to go deeper than surface level examinations of songs with regards to expectations. Likewise there's unquestionably something to be said for doing something that resonates with people more over the long term than it does in the short term. I expect that as the weeks and months go on it will continue to grow on me. Likewise, even though it's not one of my favorites, I can admit that it's probably one of Matt's most artistic albums ever. With the focus on lyrics, it almost has a Leonard Cohen feel to it.

Lastly, if on the off chance Matt does happen to come across this thread again- as I said earlier, I truly do hope he focuses more on the 99 percent of people who loved this album much more than on the 1 percent who weren't as enthusiastic. At the end of the day I'm only writing what I have because decades ago Matt rightly noted that everyone has a right to an opinion when it comes to art (provided they acknowledge it's nothing more than an opinion) and because sometimes diverse feed back is not always a bad thing if it makes someone think (even if at the end of day the person/people receiving said feedback also fairly reject it because they have different motives, feelings, and interpretations). 

Edited by daniel_v

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I am amazed by how this album has grown on me. I listen to it while traveling (either by air or car lately) and when I first heard Sicily  it didn't hit me. Now the song is one I play on repeat. It's a testament to Matt's work.  I can't wait to hear these songs live and really am curious to hear which songs will be played the most off of this album. I can see Radicals, Sicily, and SYMH all getting lots of play.  Looking forward to another great tour. Stay healthy Bored and Matt!!

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On 3/1/2020 at 12:24 PM, foats said:

I do think Arrows has a good flow to it. It's honestly top 3 of his solo releases for me. 

Christ it's good to hear someone say this, agreed Arrows is easily top 4 for me. That record and tour got me legitimately excited, because honestly I felt about half of both Vancouver and LOES covered familiar territory I wasn't keen to hear revisited. Arrows on the other hand channelled the big, rocking momentum of such songs on AOB/Avalanche/WLRR, while sounding fresh as fuck. It still sounds fresh. There are few MG records, or any records for that matter, which are great from start to finish. Arrows kept my interest as a fan, as did most of Chaotic Neutral. Two superb records in a row, and then... Something Like a Storm, the first record I was overall 'meh' about. Not a great feeling, left wondering "is this it... is Matt finally sitting back comfortably?" I mean as a fan, for TWENTY-THREE YEARS I've been curious and confounded by the unique and original moments found on literally every successive album. Thankfully Moving Walls is completely dispelling that notion. It's turning out to be great record, yet another solid collection of songs from one of my favourite artists to keep my interest. As much as I'm enjoying it, overall at present I feel mostly relieved that evidently 'the well' is far from empty. Phew. Very fucking excited to see these tunes live next week here in Toronto!

 

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When the album first came out, I was having some personal anxiety issues and was having a hard time listening to the album just due to it’s tone. Over the past few days, I’ve been loving the album, the whole thing. I can’t rank it or anything right now, but it will rank highly for me when all is all is said and done. To my ears, this is the biggest departure Matt has made from what people expect of him (LOES didn’t seem as much of a departure as was made of it to me). After several listens, it’s really growing on me. Thanks Matt.

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