It didn’t survive my 1and1 Post Drama from earlier this year, but in the summer of 2007 Matthew Good streamed his forthcoming album “Hospital Music” on his website for his fans to hear. This time around he is doing it again for his October release titled “Vancouver”. When I listened to “Hospital Music” for the first time I wrote my thoughts on a song-by-song basis, my first impressions of what I thought and I decided to try that again for this record.
However, this time it is a little bit different because most of the songs on the record I have heard in their demo format, which were released on his website over the course of the recording process. Regardless of it being my first time hearing the songs, or my tenth, I still set aside some of my afternoon and listened to the album front to back.
1. “Last Parade” – 5:55
Intro has remained the same from the demo. It feels like a song that could have been on “Avalanche” with the orchestral pieces and the layering. An interesting choice to start the record, it has a slow build but for the most part it feels like something that could be a second song or a closer. Still, the lyric “Ain’t it good to feel back home” does set the mood for the purpose and atmosphere of the record.
2. “The Boy Who Could Explode” – 6:57
I have heard this song many times but it never really stood out to me so I kind of feel like I am listening to it for the first time now. The song feels very open and light and I feel there was no hook to pull me in, perhaps that will change on repeat listens. The last part of the song with the pronounced drums and guitar was a nice ending.
3. “Great Whales Of The Sea” – 3:29
There is no doubting it, this is one of my favourite songs and I can’t explain it. I have to listen to the remainder of the album but this could be a front runner for my top track here.
4. “Us Remains Impossible” – 4:45
First off I have noticed quite the improvement from the demos released of this song. Like “The Boy Who Could Explode” this song did not stand out to me in demo format, however it is standing out to me now. Yeah, this song has gotten my attention and I am listening now.
5. “On Nights Like Tonight” – 4:22
I am not sure I have heard this song often but I immediately like it. I am still getting an “Avalanche” vibe from songs on here and this song continues to support that.
6. “Volcanoes” – 5:03
A very slow song that explodes in the middle. I don’t have much to say about this but I think it will be a grower for me. One where the lyrics stand out amongst others on the album.
7. “A Silent Army In The Trees” – 5:37
A song I had the pleasure of hearing live before “Black Helicopters” and am very pleased to see it get a full studio treatment here. The song remains unchanged from its original format but it’s good to have it here because it could be another of my favourites. The longer this song goes on for the more I like it.
8. “Fought To Fight It” – 4:23
A fantastic bass line to start this song. I like it, a lot. As much as I like “Great Whales of the Sea” this may be my top runner for the album. Not much more to say on it, I was too busy rocking out.
9. “The Vancouver National Anthem” – 6:51
I love the guitar on this song. I like the additional vocals with Pete Yorn on this, obviously a big improvement from the demo. “We all live downtown. We all step over ourselves.” is a wonderful few lines and, again, reinforces the idea of this album.
10. “Empty’s Theme Park” – 9:21
Ten minutes? Daaamn. I was doubtful of this track but the band kicking in (I find it weird to say “band” if most of the parts were performed by MG himself) added a bit more depth. I have no idea how far in to this song I am but I love the orchestra inclusion around the one third mark. The last chord on the piano is a very definite and oddly haunting way to close the record out. This was a very fast nine minutes.
That was a very quick album, I’m surprised that was 53 minutes. The subject of the record is obvious and I think it flows quite well as a ‘concept’. I will try to refrain from listening to the stream too much before it is released in October but after that all bets are off as I prepare for his November 14th concert in Edmonton, which will be my 21st time seeing him perform.