it was live | smirt
Major Matt Mason USA "Me Me Me"
Olive Juice Records, 1998, released: 1998
When I was a youth I was heavy into G.I.Joe. It was the toy that defined my
childhood. Hours spent fighting wars and inventing little games. My best
friend Bill Bland had a different aesthetic than I did when it came to
toys. His action figure of choice was Major Matt Mason, a figure more in
line with the action figures of today, smaller in scale than G.I.Joe and
with outer space as the motif. Anyway, I'm not sure why this artist has
chosen to name himself after this slightly obscure toy figure from the
60's. It has severe militaristic overtones; the music doesn't.
The music is folky and perhaps also a throwback. But it is definitely post
punk, slightly self indulgent folk music. Lone voice and acoustic guitar
sets a very specific stage. And the voice is a bit grating. It is not
totally grating but to say that he can sing would be overstating the facts.
I have always believed that a singer should not be held accountable for
their voice. If the singer must sing then so be it. Plenty of people have
made it large with lousy voices -- Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen come to
mind. So the voice here will repulse some (most?) but the songs are what
this is all about. Listen past the simple presentation to find the art of
it and there is something of value. At first listen the record intrigued
me, as I heard more and picked up on the vibe I learned to love it. Another
artist that comes to mind is Hayden. Very personal songs played without
concern for the ultimate sonic landscape.
By the time I reached the end I had changed my initial response. This guy
is good. The record in question could use some editing. But there is this
feeling that he sat down in a studio some where, let tape roll, put out a
record. That relays a nice off-the-cuff approach. There are a few instances
when background noise interrupts the song, the song continues. It's about
the songs, listen to the songs. The final track, "Plutonium", is truly a
great song but I'm not sure why we have to sit through 55 minutes of music
to get to it. Musicians these days can't seem to look at these records as
final products, whole objects with a beginning, middle and end. And not all
of these songs are keepers.
Hat tips: Cheap Trick are quoted whole at the end of song 4, "Ballad of
A song called "Krooklyn", hello to Spike Lee.
Hayden for permission and a bit of guts to even consider this.