Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

Matt Costa “Songs We Sing” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Matt Costa’s history seems to precede him coming into the new year. After touring with Jack Johnson, Fader magazine named Costa the #3 thing “You didn’t appreciate enough in 2005.” All that while it’s becoming increasingly popular and acceptable to explore relationships and emotions through acoustic ballads and slow winding lullabies. However, with few exceptions I generally stay away from music along these lines. Despite my hesitations, Costa’s Songs We Sing develops as a self ratifying, instrumentally versatile, mature album.

Songs We Sing begins with an upbeat rhythm and finds a unique balance within the wide array of instruments which find their own unique niche. “Sweet Thursday” introduces a full rock band sound, with the welcomed addition of an electric, modestly distorted guitar. Following which, Costa introduces stand-alone acoustic melodies and distant piano sounds, all of which peaking with the indie rock honky-tonk “Ballad of Miss Kate.”Avoiding the watered down term alt-country, this song doesn’t get lost in itself, offering a valid “indie-rock” take at the old honky-tonk sound. “Ballad…” seems to be a perfect fit for both Costa’s vocal capabilities and lyrical themes; one of the album’s high points.

While experiencing high points, the album starts through a feeling of lost; romantically lost, lyrically lost, and musically unstable. The album’s beauty, however, is found in the vast genres it covers; though my initial thoughts were that it was a reaction to being uncertain of a certain path to take with the album. As I spent more time with Songs I found that my initial thoughts were presumptuous to a certain degree. The album finds and excellent progression both musically and lyrically, ultimately seeking increased strength through the development of self approval. The album’s title track can best sum things up, “These are the songs that I sing to make the day better.”And with the overall comforting feeling the album brings, Costa should be encouraged to continue performing the songs he sings.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]