Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs
This Matt Nathanson session happened exactly one year from the date that it was supposed to originally happen - this time on a chilly February morning in 2011 rather than a warm February morning in 2010. The first time was aborted at the last minute for terrific reasons, even though he fought off the actual cancellation - saying the actual words - until he literally was incapable of saying them, on his back and laid up with a flu bug that he just couldn't shake off in time. The Nathanson that we got this day, we think, was a much better version of the Lexington, Massachusetts, native than the one we would have met when we were actually supposed to have met. He's a charming and hilarious man, quick to laugh and crack a follow-up joke for some more. When finds a way to get a guitar in his hands though, he turns into the kind of love sick fellow who couldn't have it any worse than the guy who's down for the count with the flu. He gets it bad and he's always gotten it bad, finding new ways to sing about that inoperable illness of seeing, talking to, flirting with, eating dinner with, walking or driving home, kissing for the first time a beautiful new woman, whose very presence is alarming and unsettling, completely unexpected and about a wonderful as you ever could have hoped it to be. It's the one thing that we always forget about those who tend to fall in love easily - not necessarily often, just easily - and that's that most of the time these occurrences happen without any warning and before you know it, you're wrapped up in a narrative that's rippling forth, unable to be stopped. It's what happens when you've not made any plans for such a thing. It will hit you between the eyes, sock you in the guts and pull your thumping heart right out of your chest to give it a solid once over. We're made to deal with all of these things that we had been ignoring, all of these things that we didn't really want to think about for a long while. Or so we thought. Nathanson writes songs about the ways we've always thought about meeting a great girl. It's not a feeling that ever really changes, just as the nasty feelings of the stomach flu are reminiscent of those days as a child when our mother would care for us with chicken noodle soup, saltine crackers and 7-Up. We recognize the same symptoms and turn to the same remedies, clinically proven or not, to fend off those symptoms. Just the same, we never outgrow those easy feelings of love, of the sparkle that we see in a girl's lips, in the way that she smiles back at up, as if we deserve her affection more than anyone else. It's hard to beat such a feeling, at any age, and Nathanson believes in the beauty of those looks and those gentle caresses - accidental or purposefully - that can make us shudder and cause our poor hearts to race right out of their cases. He sings about it in new song, "Faster," from his upcoming new album, "Modern Love." He sings about the tastes of kisses and whether they are from selective or imaginative memory or the impulsive summaries of a guy whose tongue is still worn out and whose head is spinning around like a planetarium, it doesn't really matter because we believe those kisses were real. We've experienced similar ones and we've carried them with us, just maybe not in so much detail as the girl that Nathanson describes as tasting "like sunlight and strawberry bubble gum." What a gal though - the kind that could turn a guy into someone with a "head full of tangles" and a "heart full of splinters" in a hurry. We know these hurts and we know these elations and we know that they'll never change too much.
Matt Nathanson Official Site