The Tallest Man On Earth, i.e., the Swedish indie folksinger Kristian Matsson, is a sneaky little devil.
Here's why: I envisioned some kind of 8-foot tall Woody Guthrie when I first heard about him a few years ago -- dude is only 5'9", I later come to find out. He then tricked me again today after I realized, on the third listen, that his new album, There's No Leaving Now, actually *isn't* boring but is, in fact, brilliant.
I'll admit it: I thought that the collection of pretty folk songs on There's No Leaving Now, out on June 12, was somewhat forgettable on first listen. No one track really stood out to me. Matsson channels the young Bob Dylan beautifully. His acoustic guitar-work is gorgeous and his voice poignant... but I felt a little bit like I had taken a Klonopin after the first listen: I was half-asleep and I couldn't remember a damn thing.
On the second go around, I found myself absentmindedly singing along to "1904," the album's first single which I had downloaded a couple weeks ago. "Hey," I said to myself, "Shannon!" (because I always address myself out loud and by my full Christian name). "This shit is actually pretty catchy!"
I could feel myself warming to the album as I heard the rest of the songs again, and this time I was humming along to another of the album's deceptively catchy tunes, "Leading Me Now." This song just has whatever magic element, whatever secret ingredient it is that makes a song a good one. No frills necessary.
As I approached the end of the album, I had one of those "moments" when you're listening to music and a chill runs through your body. It happened when I was listening to "On Every Page," and heard the lyrics, "when you know you're already young/ like the grass withered/ to become again and free/ it's all we'll ever be." Either the perfect confluence of the lyrics and music was making me feel damn wistful, or I'm coming down with something (which could very well be the case... I just found out one of my friends I saw last weekend has meningitis... ew!)
Third time around, I was genuinely enjoying each song, appreciating the intricacy of the arrangements and the depth of the lyrics, particularly on songs like "Wind and Walls" and "Little Brother." I've found that music that grows on you with time is oftentimes the best music, and I think this album might just be the perfect example of that phenomenon.
Some will say it's not even funny and there you stand, not even trying they say it is in line with the aging sometimes noise is just your mind but the lesson is vague and the lightning shows a deer with her mind on the moor and now something with the sun is just different since they shook the earth in 1904 as I lower down I hear it's a message and it's 1902 telling people to get out if there was a just a way I could tell them it's been long, but you are right. the singing is slow and so quiet like the sound when you sweep off the floor and now something with the dirt is just different since they shook the earth in 1904 when the night is young but the bridge is up something passing by our shore the only one you can tell it to is the only one that will know As one rock was made to go through my window here is something so strange and something louder than before you're living with no light or direction but damn precise, and now you know that believing is hard but you go now and you feel what you drag across the floor and now something in these trails is just different since they shook the earth in 1904 Some will say it's not even healthy but body is young and mind is sure that at least something is alright with your thinking because they shook the earth in 1904