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Last of the Great Pretenders

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iTunes Review

Matt Nathanson is an East Coast transplant who writes of his adopted hometown of San Francisco as someone who understands what contrasts can do to a person. He doesn't take anything for granted and finds joy in the things a true native might assume can be found anywhere. The city is the backdrop for all of love's varying situations. "Earthquake Weather" is likely the happiest-sounding song to start with the line "I'd kill anyone who'd treat you as bad as I do." "Mission Bells" features a chorus that begins "I had a dream you died," while "Last Days of Summer in San Francisco" offers a sharp hook and the truism "Love/No one cares about the stories they're not in." Elsewhere, he sees a girl in a "Kinks Shirt" walking through his city. All of the songs here are presented with a commercial pop sound that ideally should guarantee them the right to be summer anthems. However, the world is a different place than the one Nathanson dreams about, and while he may toy with the girls on the streetcar in the gorgeous acoustic ballad "Sky High Honey," he's rolling with the punches in the real world like everybody else.

Customer Reviews

A record that won't sell out

If you're a Matt Nathanson fan, you may take comfort in the fact that he wrote a record true to his own artist direction. That being said, my guess is you're not going to be totally thrilled with the collection of songs on "Last of the Great Pretenders".
Nathanson's strength is being able to connect romantically with an audience while also mixing in 70's and 80's rock influences. He is a rock bard who inspires you to sing along in the car. With the exception of Mission Bells and Sky High Honey, the record lacks the soul of Modern Love and the flow of Some Mad Hope. Granted it is a tall order to reproduce the prior success of two excellent albums, but I had hoped for either a new direction or a return to his accoustic roots. Instead, LOTGP sounds like the outtakes from Modern Love. It's a shame because if you substituted Mission Bells and Sky High Honey for Mercy and Kept, Modern Love probably would've gone platinum. My advice - download the singles and hope for an "At the Point" style revamp of these songs, stripped down and slowed down with healthy doses of Aaron Tapp back up vocals.


Now that I've streamed the album about 20 times this week I can honestly say that yes! Matt has done it again. So many artists put out discs with one or two good songs and 7 or 8 mediocre songs. For Matt, he thinks about making an album instead of one or two radio hits. This is a true collection of musical poems to his love for San Francisco. (which is okay because he will never forget that he is still a "Mass"hole).
I've been a fan for years and it's great how his fan base has grown. Buy this disc and then go back and buy everything and anything you can find.
Nathanson never disappoints!


I've been listening to this album non-stop via Pandora live stream, amazing. Looking forward to the release. Matt Nathanson is an amazing musician and performer. I always find myself going back to his songs, each album is better then the next. His songs are the perfect, put on repeat, have a glass of wine, let your emotions flow and enjoy it all.


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...
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Last of the Great Pretenders, Matt Nathanson
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Customer Ratings