As interesting and awe inspiring as complex and profoundly thoughtful records are, they can also be exhausting to digest. So much sonic sound to swallow - so many elements to encounter. Heck, I still find myself listening to records like Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Radioheads In Rainbows years after their release only to discover new things layered into songs that are practically burned into my brain.
So there's something sweet and delightful about a record that's somewhat simple - especially in the summer time. Modern Love, the seventh studio release for singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson is just that. The follow up to his 2007 record Some Mad Hope, which yielded the platinum hit "Come on Get Higher," Modern Love is more of the catchy pop songs that Nathanson fans have come to love. The records first single, "Faster," is an energetic burst of lyrics about sunlight, strawberry bubble gum, and fast beating hearts. I can almost hear the ladies swooning now (come to think of it, I might even be one of them).
I don't mean to take away from Nathanson's songwriting ability when I say the record is simple. The songs are well written and Nathanson clearly knows his way around the singer/songwriter pop genre. It's an easy listen. It's uncluttered. After about four listens you can sing along and will likely have a favorite song or two. Matt's sound is similar to Rob Thomas, Howie Day, early-years John Mayer….all talented singer/songwriters, but none of them are writing records filled with sonic noise and epic 8+ minute songs. They're writing songs and records that make people happy to listen to. And This Modern Love certainly fits that bill.
The standout song on the record is a track called "Run" that Nathanson does with Jennifer Nettles (yes, of Sugarland…having not heard of her before I was shocked when the Google-machine spit that out as well). Not usually one for country crooners I love the Nettles/Nathanson vocal duo and think the song is another contender for a country/folk crossover hit (think Lady Antebellum).
You turn, turn, turn, turning me on
Like a slow fire burn
Know that it's wrong
Still I run, run, run, run tight into you
If you're looking for a record that's filled with songs that are fun to listen to and cleverly crafted pop tunes, Modern Love is calling your name.