It's only March 2007 and we already have another album that is definitely one of the best indie albums of the year from what might be one of the top indie talents we overlooked going into 2007...until now. You may already have heard of 23 year piano songster wunderkind Matthew Jordan, who once was on MTV's 'Duets' with Vanessa Carlton and is the "15 year old" wistful pianist playing on Five For Fighting's video '100 Years.'
'Horizon' is the indie debut of the young talent and is a 12-track deep music and lyrical journey into the soul that is Matthew Jordan. There aren't too many new artists between the age of 16 and 25 that have lyrics that hit the heart and soul bulls-eye on but by the second you pop his CD in and 'I'm On My Way' plays, you feel the vulnerability and the power in his lyrics within 10 seconds of the song. The very hypnotic punch gets deepened by his masterful piano-playing along with the band accompanying...I do wish that Matthew elected to find a real drummer rather than what is presumbly a Mac laptop and a drum program as indicated in his credits; that is certainly a weak point in the album.
'Falling Down' is a very good example of the punch Matthew bring. The machine-gun like piano intro grabs you in before the electric guitars and Matthew's voice comes in. There aren't too many musicians, both indie and major that have that kind of grab, save for such acts like Tori Amos, Jason Mraz, and Curtis Peoples. 'Scared of Love' is a very metaphorical love song for the ones still looking for love and afraid to open up to such prospects...the chorus part of the song is very telling: "...to here/Yeah staring out from a broken mirror feels tough/You're just scared of love/When up is down and what's wrong is right..."
One of the strongest songs in the album is 'Close.' It's both touching, a bit edgy, and has a very powerful chorus line ("Close as dark is to night/Close as angels are to heaven...") without sounding bombastic as such songs of that ilk tends to get overblown.
You definitely get hooked into his soul in this song...just like the song title says.
'Jessie' is a very wistful song and seems to be about a guy pining for this girl who can't see the guy that is for her is the man that is singing this song. The song preaches to the guy that pines for a girl who can't see what's in front of her. Jordan gives such situations a lift of hope...another very strong song in the 12-track set.
'Someone's Waiting' is the one of the few upbeat, "hard" songs in the album which suggests that not much daunts the young musician, a rare trait in his genre. Usually an artist who does slower, softer songs and tries his hand at more upbeat songs always has a weak point. No weak point exists for Matthew in this faster, uptempo song about someone's longing for a girl.
My favorite song is 'Insomniac,' I really liked the cello-powered intro of the song, which delves into the story of being lovesick to the point where the character in the song becomes an insomniac. I liked the reference of Novocain, suggesting the character is trying to numb the love he has for someone. I also liked the espresso reference, probably something insomniacs drink to keep awake. The biggest twist is not evident, 'Insomniac' is a dark song in reality with lyrics like 'I don't wanna have to dream about you/Face the tyranny of sleep without you..." The subject maybe seemingly lovesick, but he or she is trying to run away from it.
The album ends with the very touching and poetic 'Passengers.' The allusions to sea-faring are very powerful and would be a perfect song for soldiers shipping out to war or just overseas to their loved ones.
Final word: When I got this album, I honestly wasn't sure...I almost had the impression that Matthew was another Teddy Geiger clone, but wrong on all accounts. Matthew has his own sound, which grabs you within 10 seconds of popping the album in and until the end of 'Passengers and he has a very high lyrical sense, very rare for young talent in today's "whatever makes the money" music world where lyrical sense and everything else gets thrown out the window in favor of pure style. Matthew is both style and substance and that is quite refreshing.
Honestly if the year ended now, 'Horizon' would top Musiqtone's list of the best indie albums of the year but it's only March and for now it is the top indie release that have sat on my desk this year. Why a major label hasn't snatched him up I do not know why, he is major-label material 100%, a rare blend of looks and talent that very few in his age group possess. Dare I say that he is well above young male music contemporaries Teddy Geiger, Ryan Cabrera, and Drake Bell? All three should move over and let Matthew join and lead them in the room. How many 20-somethings can craft an album this good, especially their first? The sky's the limit for this piano songster and expect him to be a force in the indie circuit this year. 'Horizon' will go after the people that have gobbled up those three mentioned above and those who enjoy music from Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw, and John Mayer.
Name: "Horizon-" Matthew Jordan
Label: Quiet Thunder Records
Release date: March 13, 2007
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Matthew's official site
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Alan Ho is the chief head of Musiqtone. You can contact him at email@example.com.