The increasing trend of YouTubers and other social media celebrities venturing into the music industry has had mixed results. Many of them perform in good faith, and some even do so quite well, but many others see an avenue toward monetary gain. As such, the products of these endeavors tend to vary in quality.
Matt Watson, best known for co-hosting the YouTube channel “SuperMega,” may not have been the most obvious pick to begin releasing music. Many of his career highlights have been comedy and video editing, but he has a prolific career in music-based comedy spanning almost a decade.
His first full-length album, “SEE YOU THERE,” demonstrates this experience but lacks variety and vividity, starting on a promising note and becoming more monotonous as it progresses.
The first track, “STARSTUD,” is easily the album’s best effort. Chiptune electric pianos lead the beat, giving the track the sound of a classic video game. Syncopated drums and punchy bass aid the rhythmic interest, and Sarah Bonito’s breathy vocal slots in nicely over the backing.
Watson really goes for it on this tune and to his benefit. The accompaniment is ambitious and groovy, the melody is dynamic and interesting, and Watson’s vocals seem more energetic here than any other point on the album.
Unfortunately, this energy doesn’t stick around.
Much of the rest of the album highlights the repetitive beats and thumping kick drums of sad-boy music, not unlike the stylings of Joji or Freddie Dredd. The promise of the opener made this shift all-the-more disappointing, taking almost all wind out of the album’s sails just one song in.
“Ok Then,” which starts strongly with a guitar and synth bass-led beat, loses steam around the halfway point. Right when the beat starts to become stale, the second verse begins and Watson’s voice adopts a sort of whimpering tone, a characteristic of the genre that I find intensely unpleasant.
“STUPID” is the first of this album’s sad songs to sound sad, which works to greater effect. It adds some sonic interest by filtering Watson’s voice to sound as though it’s coming from a phone speaker.
The beat is somewhat amorphous, with the instruments not quite landing together in a way that gives the song a trudging, hopeless feeling that fits the tone well. Despite the things it does right, it still sounds dull, flat and tedious, with the lyrics entirely composed of one repeated line.
The final song, “NEBRASKA,” is introduced by a slow groove led by the drums and bass. This aspect, along with the occasional vocal harmonies, are strong but not strong enough to keep the track’s head above water. Tonally, it works as an ending, but it isn’t a particularly robust one.
Many of the songs on this album had things going for them. Watson clearly knows what he’s doing, and his music succeeds in much of what it’s trying to do. However, as exemplified by “STARSTUD,” it could be trying to do much more interesting things.
“SEE YOU THERE” is an album of well-made but boring music. Watson clearly has the chops to make compelling and engaging music, but if his first album is any example, he’ll need to employ some individuality and boldness to do so.
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