By Nur Shelton
In a world of technologically advanced and digitally driven musical production and performance, it’s easy to view past artists as antiquated. For a lot of people, especially kids our age, it seems that any song without a catchy, synthesized drumbeat or a “sick drop” is destined to be skipped on the Spotify queue. It goes without saying, however, that there are still countless contemporary artists who choose not to conform to 21st century pop standards, those who draw on musical aspects from the past while putting their own personal spin on their craft.
When Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson burst onto the music scene in 2006 under the playful stage name The Tallest Man on Earth, comparisons were quickly drawn to folk music legend Bob Dylan. With his characteristic raspy voice and skillful guitar playing, Matsson seemed to be emulating the Nobel Laureate’s style.
While he has no doubt been influenced by Dylan, The Tallest Man on Earth certainly brings his own cards to the table, especially on his second album, “The Wild Hunt.” Released in 2010, it is one of his most celebrated records and contains two of his best-known songs: “Love is All” and “King of Spain.”
Matsson interweaves visions of the quiet Swedish countryside with haunting, melancholy love stories in songs like “A Lion’s Heart” and “The Drying of the Lawns.” His mixture of masterful guitar picking and upbeat strumming is in full force throughout the album, and his raw vocals and vivid poetry reveal a wandering minstrel’s soul. Between these melancholy ballads lie quick and cheery tracks like “Burden of Tomorrow” and “Troubles Will be Gone,” which prod at the romantic buried inside all of us.
If you’re looking for a change of scene from the modern pop music sound, the raw and romantic poetry of “The Wild Hunt” might be for you. And if you end up finding something you like, The Tallest Man on Earth’s most recent album “I Love You. It’s a Fever Dream” came out on April 19t.
Contact Nur Shelton at nurs18 ‘at’ stanford.edu if you have any good music recs!