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Beneath These Fireworks

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Album Review

San Francisco's Matt Nathanson has released five independent albums and an EP in the past ten years, and through steady touring and a dynamic stage presence, has built up a loyal fan base. Beneath These Fireworks, produced by Ron Aniello, is Nathanson's major label debut, and he doesn't waste the opportunity, cherry picking a trio of songs from his earlier releases ("Bare," "Bent," "Lucky Boy") to re-record, and with some radio-ready new material, the result is an impressively cohesive pop album. Nathanson's songs are full of the fractured hearts and broken confessions of unhealthy relationships, and while his lyrics stray at times into an ornate despondency, the sheer pop smarts and giant hooks in the arrangements more than compensate. The brief opening track, "Angel," sets the tone here, with Nathanson's smoky tenor conveying a kind of knowingly pleading intimacy, the sort of thing Paul Simon does so well in his songs about relationships gone slightly askew. At other times, the cynical pop energy at work here is reminiscent of Marshall Crenshaw, with bright arrangements masking deeper concerns. The gorgeous "Pretty the World" is the real gem on this release, and its desperately infectious chorus ("show me how pretty the world is") deserves to be all over the airwaves.

Customer Reviews

Solid and Wholly Unexpected.

I'm a fan of many different genres, but when my female pop-happy friend handed me this CD, I was... well, skeptical. Good thing I trust my friends. At first glance, the album is very light and akin to the contemporary style of bubblegum/emotional radio-filler, but really listen to each song and you'll find something else. Songs like the short "Angel" and biting "Weight of It All" are sweet, heavy-handed and yet artful and original. Soft anthems like "Little Victories" are catchy and upbeat, but not sickening. This album, from a relatively unknown up-and-comer, is certainly a balancing act--and he rarely hits the net.


By this CD you will find Matt Nathanson is a poet and is a very good musician but it isn't till you see a live show of his that you fall completely in lvoe with him. I've been too so many shows I can't even count and so far 5 of them are Matt Nathanson. He puts on one of the best shows. He does fun covers, he talks to the crowd, and is very energetic and funny. Buy the CD and go to a Matt Nathanson show. No matter who you are or what music you like, I GUARANTEE you will have a great time. -Taylor


I bought this album from hearing a song in the store HOLLISTER and something happened when I bought it. I like every song on the album the same which never happens. YOU NEED TO PICK THIS UP!!!!


Genre: Rock

San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson has built up a loyal fan base through extensive touring. His live shows are stripped-down affairs: half music, half standup comedy, with the humor balancing out the frequently introspective songs. Nathanson has released several independent albums, including Please (1993), Ernst (1997), Not Colored Too Perfect (1998), and Still Waiting for Spring (1999), as well as an EP, When Everything Meant Everything (2002). His major-label debut, Beneath These...
Full Bio
Beneath These Fireworks, Matt Nathanson
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Customer Ratings