Mat Shoare’s album Waking Up Is Hard To Do is a fantastic piece of emotional truth getting to the core of human desire to be loved and the darkness that comes with the absence of that love.
The album starts off with “Scandal”. The interesting attribute of this song is the vocals. They are his voice echoed back with a slight delay, making it sound like two people are trying their best to sing along with one another. With the soft beat of the drums this song is very relaxed, yet it has a direction that makes you wonder whether or not he is willing to pursue the relationship, disregarding the scandal.
The next song is the title of the album, “Waking Up Is Hard To Do”. One of the most emotional songs in the album it starts off solely lead by the piano and his voice. He sings about how his love should stop lying to him and making it “easy on yourself” and just say it is over. Near the end of the song a snare drum roll brings in the drums and backup vocals to tie the bow on this song.
“I’m Crazy” is a very chill song on the album, but it is identifiably different from the rest. This is because of the use of synthesizer and the vibrato of the other instruments. Another unique song on the album is one of my favorites “True to You”. This song has a very coffee shop-like swing to it, almost folk jazzy. This album talks about how much this love of his means to him and this song tries to reason why his love should be with him. The acoustic guitar, piano, and bongos makes you fall in love this album.
The next on the album is my second favorite. “Inheritance” starts off with a soft synthesizer and Shoare’s passionate soulful vocals coming in singing about wanting to belong. Everyone can relate to the idea of wanting to belong to something or someone and Shoare displays this idea beautifully through this song. The piano and backup vocals singing “ooooh, lalala” helps add another level of emotion. I really felt his desire for wanting love.
Native American drums and a cat meowing is exactly how “Tracy in the Helicopter with Crystals” starts. I guess the interesting style matches the interesting name! With the high-pitched electric guitar strumming occasionally and soft, distant vocals I pictured myself in the Wild West. The end of the song takes me out of that place by using delayed echoing vocals talking, or singing. It was hard to tell.
Like “True to You”, the next song on the album “Patience” starts off with a coffee shop-like swing. Singing about being patient when looking for love, I relate more than anything to this song. One of the catchiest parts about this song is the shaker driving the song forward during the chorus, and slowing down for the verse. One of the more clever lines in the song is “Patience is a virtue, just wait and see.”
The next song is “Love Never Fails”. Being in a ¾ time signature, this song naturally makes you swing, especially with the bass on the downbeat and the guitar on beats 2 and 3. His vocals are echoed by the backup vocals, almost reassuring himself of how much he cares about his love. This song beautifully demonstrates his true affections and how deeply invested he is with this person. He also reassures himself with the title of the song and idea that “love never fails, like I do.” Acknowledging his own faults, but letting her know, that wont stop him from pursuing her with everything he has.
“I Want Love” is by far my favorite song on the album. When I first heard this song, I felt so in touch with what Shoare was saying that I actually shed a few tears. The only instrument in this song is the piano, which as a piano player, was so excited to hear. The piano definitely guides down you a path of wanting someone amidst your loneliness. When Shoare reaches the high notes belting, “I want love” you can hear the passion in his voice. One of the lines that hits me the hardest is “I want to know I’m good enough for you.” In the middle of the song the piano and vocals stops and as he sings, “I want love…” he hits a dissonant chord and finishes the line “…with you, just with you.” His left hand on the low notes goes up the scale pushing the song to his last plea. “I’ll stay around no matter what goes down… I don’t worry, ‘cause I always know I’ve got some more to share with you.”
The album ends with “Waking Up Is Hard Two Do” which is a clever play on word with the title of album. Starting with a beach boys feel, the pitch of the vocals slowly drops getting darker and darker until it ends. The song sounds upbeat, but by the end you can hear the desperation of trying to find love when it seems that it will never find you.
Overall, Waking Up Is Hard To Do, is one my favorite albums released this year and this is why. There are beyond numerous albums about love. But none of them are done in such a unique and truthful manner as this album. Most albums are all sappy songs about how much they want that person to love them. Mat Shoare goes beyond that. The uniqueness of his songs is none like I’ve ever seen especially considering how well they come together to tell the story we can all connect with; the story of wanting love.
By: Brennan Flanagan