Keep The Change – Mattiel

I’ve definitely talked about this phenomenon before. That’s partly why I stopped the blog when I did (I know it doesn’t seem very stopped at this moment. Trust me. It’s stopped) A curious thing can happen when you listen to music in your own little bubble. People who aren’t THAT famous in the real world can grow in stature by repetition in your Spotify (or your record collection or YouTube or whatever). I’ll give you a ‘ferrinstunce.

Mattiel is a megastar of pop in The SteveForTheDeaf residence. She’s got more hits than Ariana, Ellish and Queen B combined. She has a credibility on a par with a Courtney Barnett or a baby PJ Harvey. Her light to use, but durable pop songs get to be the soundtrack in the kitchen, the car, at the parties and on the dog walks.

I’ve looked at the big phenomenons of the year in pop culture articles of late. I can tell you I have no clue about Drag Race, BTS, Post Malone (I hear he invented Ozzy Osbourne), Harry Styles or Lil Nas X (Is that like a tiny Illmatic you can keep in your pocket?). I’m not doing that ‘I’m so cool and alternative pop culture doesn’t touch me’ thing. I love pop culture. It’s just so easy to miss huge swathes of it when you get obsessed with other stuff. Mattiel caught my ear first with Count Your Blessings on her last album. I though she was great. The pop was pure but still relied on a band. I don’t know why that maters so much to me. I doesn’t bother me with Camila Cabello or Lady Gaga who I both think make exemplary pop music. Mattiel though, she’s got an extra something. Her songs sound not just like they’re her songs, but her voice sounds real and honest.

It’s not the eschewing of glamour. I’m aware she cultivates her image as much as a stylist would for some poppet songstress with backing dancers and jazz hands. The thing I think I like about her music is it’s lived in feel. There’s a dry wit at work and a delivery that isn’t emoting all over the place with power grabs and showboating. I’d rather hear a good tune boshed out on an acoustic than a big show stopper. I’d rather see some quirk than a stage school grin. Not to say there are no production values. Listen to Keep The Change or Miracle and you won’t hear anything ground breaking. She does do some arty new wave inspired stuff elsewhere but there’s not a hint of it on most of her singles. Just good honest catchy hummable pop music.

That’s what I like about Keep The Change. It does everything a big pop anthem should except irritate with insincerity. Is the reason I like her music so much the same thing that is stopping her being one of the biggest names in the game? Or has she just not had her breakthrough hit yet? I don’t know. I do think she’s got a lot more in the tank though. You heard it here folks. Pop music. It’s going to be big.

Happy New Year!

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