February 12, 2013

"Restless Heart," by Matt Hires

Arrhythmia refers to abnormal electric activity in the heart. It can cause the beating of the heart to be too fast, too slow, or to vary in pace becoming irregular and restless. Personally, I think this disease is worthy of song - let's raise some awareness, folks - but I have yet to hear such a ditty.

As I wait for an equally medically-inclined music enthusiast to write a song about the trials of arrhythmia, this Tuesday's single, "Restless Heart" by Matt Hires, will suffice at filling this void in my music collection. Matt is a singer-songwriter out of Tampa, Florida. He is most well-known for his 2009 album, Take Us to the Start, which saw two tracks aired on popular ABC shows Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy. Not that I would know from watching the shows, or anything. I looked it up on Wikipedia, I swear.

Whenever I download these tracks and click play, I'm always hesitant. I like to go in blind, relish in the surprise of being greeted by the jams of any given genre. I love how this track starts out.

I immediately enjoy the high-capo'd acoustic guitar, and the introduction of the thumping bass drum and the thick, bass guitar make for a great build through verse one. The chorus has got a bright, pop feel even going so far as to include some cheesy, synth violins (my guilty pleasure: songs with synth violin). We get the chorus a second time, and it's kind of overwhelming how many little accents there are to the actual song. I hear steel guitar, a honky tonk organ, those synth violins again, the clapping hands over the top of the mix - the composition begins to lose its theme. 

It feels like the track was torn between two ideas - folk and pop. Just by watching the music video, you can see that Hires is shooting for a folksy-Americana vibe, but that's not really what the track achieves.  The verses are appropriately folksy, but the choruses are like some kind of overly-cheery, quick-paced bastardization of a country barn dance.

But what really irks me is that the tone of this song - bright, cheery, major key, high pitched violins and guitars - doesn't jive with what the song is about. At all. Read these lyrics for a spell:

"Pretty girls come from the ugliest places. You come from the worst of them all."

"You've got a restless heart, beating out on your sleeve. I won't let this fire start. You say love is all you need, but you're not gonna get it from me."

"...even a hopeless romantic like me, I know that it's all just a game. Everyone's looking for love, looking for something to hold on to. Oh, I've been looking for 25 years, and I know I won't find it in you."

The song is about resisting temptation, about a heartbreaker trying to seduce him. The lyrics read like a grungy, vengeful pop song in the vein of Panic! at the Disco, but the melody is a high-stepper. 

This disconnect between musical ideas really is a shame, because Matt Hires' voice is slick, I tell you what. He's got a near perfect balance of low-range, smooth and sultry tones with his high-range power and grit. In fact, I took the time to listen to some of the other songs on his newest EP, and they're really good tracks. You get all the pleasure of listening to that voice without the lyrical disconnect.

So what this all boils down to is that Matt promoted the wrong single. Sure, it's catchy and poppy, and it'll draw some folks to his EP, but the good tracks (the ones that I wish were free) will have to be dug for. Matt Hires' track, "Restless Heart," gets...

3 out of 5.

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