Matthew Austin Hunt – “Free” – Single Review
Alrighty folks…let’s hash this out here…
The first thing that hit me right away was the magnificently robust sound “Free” pumps out there, right from the get-go. I mean, if I’m being real with ya, I was just on my way out of some pretty mellow stuff that I’d been listening to prior, but even later on as I’d repeat my tours through this new single by artist Matthew Austin Hunt, I always found the very beginning of this song to make a massive impact, every time. On a technical level, this dude’s doing a ton of things right & getting a great sound onto his recording here, both from the music and the microphone…whether he’s dialed back the energy in the verses for a moment, or at the maximum peak of the ingredients combined for the chorus, you’ll find that the musicianship & the vocals are fully on-point, with plenty of hooks shining through both aspects.
Ultimately, the balance of strengths you’ll hear will certainly have you concluding that the man knows what he wants to get out of his music…everything is in line from the organ sounds of the keyboards in the background to the brightness of the lead guitars sparkling along with the steadiness of the rhythm section. If you’re looking for mistakes in the musicianship, y’ain’t gonna find’em…Matthew’s got this track refined to deliver, and when it comes to the execution of what he’s got, it’s crystal clear to your ears that he’s put in the passion & effort to make the difference through his performance. I like the guy’s voice…I’d personally sink it a bit further into the mix, but that’s me; it’s not a comment on the quality of his vocals, those are fine…I just think there’s still room to bring the music up to deliver the punch of its most gripping transitions a lil’ more, but being fair to Hunt, I pretty much always feel that way about more than half of the tunes I listen to. I’m just saying that the qualities & tones of Matthew’s voice are gonna have no problem standing out, even if the music was brought up a bit in volume to support & surround him a bit more than it is now…nothing detrimental to the vibe he’s creating overall.
Being as real as I can with the man…my gut tells me the guy needs a few more words. I mean this in a couple of ways actually…one being that there are a few moments where you can feel Matthew bending parts of his lyrics to fit in what’s almost an unnatural shape when he’s singing’em; nothing so extreme like banging a square peg through a circle’s hole, but almost as if a couple more syllables here & there would still benefit him, the song, and the smoothness in the design of the flow to the vocal melody. And I ain’t gonna lie to ya…adding in a couple more syllables here & there could only be a benefit to Hunt’s music in my personal opinion…because chances are, that means a few more words in the mix to provide imagery & enhance the experience & all-that good stuff. As it stands right now, “Free” has a harder time making an impression in that respect…it’s not devoid of meaning & substance by any stretch, that’s not what I’m saying – but I am saying there are songs you can hear are written, and songs you know are felt, and especially when it comes to lyricism. Do I feel like we get to the heart of what Matthew is really looking to say through “Free?” I think we get a really decent glimpse…a snapshot…and pieces, which is almost echoed through the way it’s broken up line-by-line as he sings the verses. Do I think he has more in the tank? Absolutely. And I hear the space for that to evolve in the future, which is a good thing. Not every singer/songwriter out there in the world is just gonna wanna spell everything out as plain as day for us anyhow…sometimes it’s left up to us as we listen to fill in the blanks, and there’s value in that too. All depends on who ya are, what you wanna get outta your music & what you’re trying to communicate, just as much as it’s about what you want the people to remember when we’re listening to your tunes.
If you ask me, I’d tell ya that “Free” gets stronger as it plays, and really finds its most successful gear right around the 1:45 spot, when you hear the backing vocals come in to join Matthew and really bring the maximum potential out of the chorus along with him in the process. From there on-forward, it really felt like Hunt surged through the second-half of this song, and raised the stakes by adding in that last significant layer that puts the necessary ingredient into the special sauce. Chances are, it was tasty enough for most of ya to begin with and we’d have all gone back for a second helping of this single – but thanks to the way this song evolves at its mid-point, that enhanced magic we hear will keep us coming back for another spin or two of “Free” for years on. Bonus points for the stellar mix on the drums & fills coming from the throne back there too. All-in-all, there are a ton of positives to work with & reasons to listen – “Free” gives you a solid glimpse into Matthew Austin Hunt’s upcoming 2nd record & the spirited sound he has…and with the passion & heart he puts into his music, I’d imagine he’s got lots of great stuff still yet to come as he continues to establish his name out there.
“Free” arrives this May 28th – find out more about Matthew Austin Hunt from his official website at: https://matthewaustinhunt.com
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