Matt Alter – “Insomnia”

 Matt Alter – “Insomnia”

Matt Alter – “Insomnia” – Single Review

So…hmm…where do I start here?

I guess the first thing I’ll say is that I certainly don’t hate “Insomnia,” at least in song form.  If we’re talking about the anti-sleep monster, then hell yeah, you’ll find me agreeing with most everything that Matt Alter is saying about “Insomnia” being a serious fucking problem and an outright pain in the ass.

That being said…bah – how do I put this?  I was never 100% sure that I really liked this song either I guess.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that I DO like about it…but it also had some things working against it that were hard for me to ignore too.  So whaddya want first – the positives or the negatives?  Maybe a mix between the two is more representative of how I felt about this tune overall.

Alright.  The first thing I noticed was the instrumentation, and that was a positive.  Those guitars come out soundin’ hot and the riff works…you get an enticing dose of axe-work right at the start, and that’s obviously a good thing.  The next thing I noticed though, was the mix on this track…and I became a lot less sure about what I was listening to.  If I’m being real with ya, listening up close to “Insomnia” was very similar to what it sounded like back when cassettes or the cassette player itself (Yes, I’m old) were beginning to wear out…you get this weird, continual loop of rising and falling.  Chances are, what’s causing that is an effect that’s being applied in production, likely intended for the vocals, but affecting the entire song as a whole.  You’ll hear the heavy filter applied to Matt’s vocals – and I’m not at all saying that isn’t the right fit – I’m cool with it…but something being done behind the studio boards is affecting the way this whole track plays.  Again, the way this track sonically warps your thought process could very well be intentional – that might be a way of Matt communicating what “Insomnia” feels like to experience, and if that’s the case, well-played sir, well-played.  The reality is that it doesn’t actually make the concept any easier to listen to, but at least in that particular instance I’d get where he’s coming from on a creative level, and y’all know I’m always in favor of trying new things and different approaches with your music, even if they don’t always work out 100%.  So again, don’t get it twisted – there are positives to be found in what’s being attempted, even if I didn’t personally dig the results.  As always, I’m not ever suggesting we’re all gonna hear things the same way – you might listen to the way that “Insomnia” comes out with its strange shifting sound and be like ‘THAT’S MY JAM’ – and if that’s the case, you get the ol’ high five from me with no judgements.  You do you, and I’ll do me, like always.

Anyhow.  Here’s what I can tell you goes unquestionably RIGHT for Matt on his new single from his latest record called Did I Offend You?, coming out this December 15th – these hooks will stick with ya.  I’ll be real with you and let you know I was kinda neither here nor there with the verses – not bad, not my favorite – they work.  But as for the chorus?  I gotta give credit where credit is due – they’re brilliant.  You know how I know this to be true?  Earlier this week, I had a sneak peek into what I’d be talking about in this review.  I pushed play on “Insomnia,” had a full listen, and went out to walk my dog like I do twice every single goddamn day.  And let me tell ya – there wasn’t a single solitary second where I didn’t have the main chorus hooks of “Insomnia” playing on repeat in my head – after ONE single spin!

Say what you want folks…love it, hate it, or otherwise – whenever that’s the case, you’ve genuinely got something – and I’ll always be the first person to tell you that no matter what I might personally think about whatever tune I’m listening to.  I’m not here arguing on behalf of the lyrics, I’m not here tellin’ ya that I think Matt’s the singer of all singers – I’m simply being completely fair and objective, tellin’ ya that the chorus of “Insomnia” will get stuck in your head just as much as it did in mine – it’s a universal vibe, and designed to be as memorable as it becomes.  Truthfully, Matt doesn’t need to do a whole lot of singing in the traditional sense on “Insomnia” anyway – it’s a performance-based song, and he plays the role of the ringmaster perfectly…he’s entertaining throughout this single, that’s what I’m getting at.  I felt like the guitars were jamming, the drums had a great pop to the snare sound, and the call & answer approach he takes to the chorus worked perfectly – in combination with the level of personality you get from the guy on the mic, and a killer solo after the second minute has passed, I have no qualms about tellin’ ya that “Insomnia” has a lot goin’ on in favor of gettin’ your attention one way or the other.  There are stylistic choices that have been made as far as how the vocals sound and how the mix comes out in the end – but those are the risks we take when it comes to creative freedom & doing things differently.  Sometimes a single moment can make an entire song – and the memorable hooks contained in the chorus on “Insomnia” could be enough to make the whole experience with this track well worth the time for many listeners out there…or at least be the soundtrack replaying in their head while they’re still awake in the middle of the night, dreading that next moment when their alarm goes off to start the day.

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