What better way to mark my departure from Sweden than with a bittersweet song from the country’s finest songwriter, Kristian Matsson?
“1904” is the first single from his latest album, There’s No Leaving Now, and it’s a good indication of the pace and flow of the work as a whole. The rhythm gestures toward a progress, an inevitable motion toward what lies ahead. But the tone, the sound, and the lyrics point to a more mournful kind of nostalgia. It’s this balance that makes listening such a stirring experience.
The first time I heard this track, I commented that Matsson’s sound is so much richer and fuller than it has been in the past. His voice really soars, and resonates in a way I hadn’t expected from the sparse and twangy troubadour of earlier records. “1904” gives us the best of both worlds; the folky sensibilities that came to define Tallest Man as well as a more polished, gleaming sound. If a song can be spare and lush at the same time, he’s done it.
“1904” in a nutshell: optimistic nostalgia awash with sensations of motion. Savor it. Like all beautiful experiences and good memories, it ends too soon.
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