The fourth album by the Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim, “Lightning,” was released last week and it just misses the mark.
After the release of the first single, “Let’s Go,” it was anticipated that the rest of the album would have the same feel: an album one could listen to in the car with the windows down (much like their previous albums).
With the exception of a couple of the songs on the album, this was not the case.
The second track, “Now,” is slightly reminiscent of the band’s 2009 release “Grand” and has a catchy chorus. However, the crescendo near the end of the song unexpectedly loses its momentum.
“It’s Alright” follows “Now” and has a dance beat that picks back up the energy with both its lyrics and upbeat tempo.
“Not That Bad” is a song that could go both ways, meaning it could be a somber song and an optimistic song at the same time.
The lyrics, “Broken and repaved / these streets have been saved / they’re painted with luck,” give the impression that things were once bad but the situation is starting to improve.
“Overexposed” and “I Said” both lyrically attempt to be deep yet glamorous and fall short of that expectation.
With “Overexposed,” the music and lyrics contrast one another.
“Overexposed” contains lyrics such as, “Actions make more of a mess / than words can make / like a picture / I was overexposed,” which clash against the synthesizer and drums. This style is repeated in “I Wonder.”
In “I Said,” the mood is present musically and the lyrics are about one level below on the emotion scale. The lyrics, “Some day I feel like I’m doing time / I know you’re just as confused,” give the impression that Matt Johnson wants to open up.
“Tonight” is another New York City pride song that had the potential to be more than that if they didn’t make it city-specific (though it is understandable that they write about NYC, given their proximity).
The album should have closed with “Much Too Late,” which brings back the same feeling from “Let’s Go.”
However, the final song on the 10-track album is “Ten Dollars I Found,” which has to be the strangest song from Matt & Kim so far.
The song talks about appreciating the little things in life in a simplistic manner – which isn’t a bad thing – but has a poor delivery.
The lyrics, “I’ll buy the next round / with 10 dollars I found / at the Nostrand stop / surrounded by cops,” would be better suited with a more upbeat tempo but is instead paired with piano and synthesizer in a somber way.
Looking at the album as a whole, this song would have been better off either not being included or listed as a bonus track.
That being said, the album is worth a listen if you’re a diehard Matt & Kim fan. If you’re just starting to listen to them, however, pick up their other albums before you listen to this one.