Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Matt & Kim – Daylight

A love like this deserves mojitos…


Martin Kavka: Get a room.

Chuck Eddy: “They have a DIY attitude towards their music. They also have a wide-ranging musical taste, including top 40 hip hop…In 2009, their song ‘Daylight’ was featured in a Bacardi commercial; the band, however, insists that there are industries they will never collaborate with, such as cigarette companies.” Another reason to be glad I no longer live near Brooklyn.

Martin Skidmore: Matt’s flat, geeky vocals are very annoying, the kind of voice that makes you listen for the jokes, the parody, but there doesn’t seem to be anything like that here. Other than the percussion, it strikes me as rubbish.

Michaelangelo Matos: Like Hutch Harris with an awful case of the cutes singing over tack piano that seems to have badly misconstrued the idea of olde-time music hall. Minus the vocal, a 4.

Edward Okulicz: There’s a killer keyboard riff and an awfully accomplished hook hiding from Matt’s utterly dreadfully strained, parodically nerdy, melody-mangling singing here. That the song comes awfully close to working despite that handicap is both creditable and painfully frustrating.

Jonathan Bradley: Rinky-dink keys and a wild-eyed, fervent vocal delivery add up to one of indie-pop’s more irresistible pleasures in 2009. Matt & Kim have an unabashed enthusiasm that could easily make their amateurism seem contrived, but they attack their (really quite hummable) melodies with such earnestness that their their big-city-as-playground narratives seem anthemic and rousing. Which is apt; “Daylight” hints at a sense of freedom that genuinely is liberating, and the duo’s lack of cynicism in relation to that fact reflects a risk well worth applauding.

Mallory O’Donnell: I was predisposed to dislike this violently, and I did. Every sound being played here is good, but each is being employed in an almost medically uncomfortable manner. Also, it’s only really considered mugging when you stop doing it once and a while.

Ian Mathers: We don’t get to choose our favourites, and we certainly don’t get to decide how others feel about them; so I fully expect one of the brilliant writers here on the Jukebox will write something pithy, cutting, and at least partially true about “Daylight,” and as I read it I will wince. Because however gnomic and private the literal meaning of these words are, the confluence of sonic, emotional and experiential factors that determines how you feel about a song after you’ve listened to it dozens of times means that for me “Daylight” is the sound of figuring out that things are going to be okay; the sound of tackling your underwhelming adult life with whatever resources you can muster; the sound of how we put our lives together, piecemeal. I mean, the first time I heard “Daylight” I thought it was just a great pop song — I’m a sucker for Matt & Kim’s drums-and-keyboards-and-yelling-and-grinning approach, and I think Grand has been drastically overlooked by people this year — and certainly the skittering beat and the collision between the bright electric piano melody and the swelling organ during the chorus are/were immediately compelling to me. And given their normal scrappy, buzzy feel, the fact that “Daylight” suddenly feels widescreen, epic (or as epic as this music and these lives can manage) both delights and moves me. But whatever it lacks in literal sense, “and in the daylight anywhere feels like home” is still the heart of the song, and the heart of the feeling “Daylight” engenders in me: one not of rootlessness but of connection, of community rather than isolation (and it’s no coincidence that this song and this album are as much about Matt & Kim’s neighbourhood as anything else), of optimism breaking through aimlessness. I want to keep writing about how great this song is and what it means to me, but I’m essentially filibustering now, hoping that if this is long enough your eye will be drawn to this blurb rather than one that might be more cynical or more clearheaded, and you’ll give “Daylight” a chance. Because it deserves one.

Matt Cibula: For all its (forced) energy, this kind of defines “half-assed indie hufflepuff” for me. Either pump up the Icicle Works Beat or go full-on Bis Hyper-Active Adorable Nutter mode or borrow some fun, or something.

Iain Mew: This is somewhat akin to being cornered by someone with what, at first, appears to be a vaguely amusing anecdote, but who then just goes on and on and on over the same points until you can’t imagine why you ever cared in the first place.

John Seroff: “Daylight” is relentlessly goofy and aggressively, almost confrontationally, upbeat; it’s almost daring you not to like it. Not to worry lil’ single; your jittery, catchy charm is plenty infectious and your wackadoo crackpot grin of a music video ain’t half bad either. With positive vibrations like these, I was somewhat surprised this canned joy wasn’t fueled by a Christian ideology; punk this sunny smells straightedge. Imagine my surprise bummer when I discovered that it’s already being used to pimp rum. From sweet and happy-go-lucky to Bacardi bitch faster than you can say “Lights Out”? Not much fun in that.

Additional Scores

Andrew Casillas: [5]
John M. Cunningham: [7]
Anthony Easton: [3]
Anthony Miccio: [4]
Doug Robertson: [8]
Keane Tzong: [2]

41 Responses to “Matt & Kim – Daylight”

  1. I totally buy that this thing engenders feelings of community and connection, but so does, like, Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Our House (is a very very very nice house),” which doesn’t stop it from being just about the smarmiest and shittiest thing ever recorded. This isn’t THAT bad, not having been recorded by a bunch of loathsome, past their prime, self-satisfied hippies but rather by a relatively innocuous if utterly untalented dork, but it’s kinda getting there. Any time a song sounds like it would fit just perfectly as soundtrack music for the uplifting ending of a third-rate Garden State knockoff (and Garden State itself is already a pretty third-rate movie), that song has problems.

  2. You do realize that when CSN recorded “Our House” they weren’t exactly past their prime, right?

  3. Not that I’m any kind of CSN fan, obv. Just saying.

  4. one could argue that crosby stills and nash were in their artistic prime while respectively in the byrds, buffalo springfield and the hollies, and therefore past it when they recorded “our house.”

  5. though honestly this song is such a clattery mess I don’t even know how people get “community and connection” out of it. Their live shows and photos may be another thing all together.

  6. Also, this is much much much worse than “Our House” (which I’ve never particularly liked.)

  7. Do agree with Matos, though, that’s there’s something at least mildly attractive about that awkward piano (which he also described perfectly.) That’s what my 2 points were for.

  8. Matt & Kim are, at times, to bullshit twee indie rock what Andrew W.K is to bullshit cock rock. SORT OF. Which fits with me thinking they’re both better than the cliches they’re sculpting charicatured extremes out of. However I wish they’d just cut off the song after two minutes, because after that it really gets annoyingly long.

  9. I love the percussion here. I like the keyboards. The rest is erm, except the vocal which does pretty much suck. But I can see why this is setting new records for controversy – it’s really about whether you can find a place in your heart for its gleeful naif enthusiasm.

  10. i will agree that this song would’ve been better if it had been shorter. and not made into a commercial for booze before it even had a moment to be heard first.

  11. Anthony- for what it’s worth I didn’t properly loathe them until I’d seen them live. Theirs is not a show built on quality, or charm, or anythingly remotely resembling talent.

  12. I hate the tack piano, Chuck!

  13. I also considered throwing in the caveat about CSN’s previous groups but really don’t care that much for their work in those, either. (The Byrds lived and died on McGuinn; Springfield ditto w/Neil.)

  14. (Even “For What It’s Worth” is completely made by Neil’s guitar line.)

  15. I hate most of you right now.

  16. You know, Miccio, sometimes being a “clattery mess” can be a good thing. It is permissable for music to use noise and disorder as elements that augment rather than detract from the final product.

  17. Wait, so you guys are saying this song was supposed to be noisy? If so, I totally missed the point.

    Also, Andrew WK was certainly not generally better than the (real or imagined) cock-rock cliches he was trying to make fun of (at least not when people actually paid attention to him — it’s possible he’s improved since then, but I doubt it.)

  18. “one could argue that crosby stills and nash were in their artistic prime while respectively in the byrds, buffalo springfield and the hollies, and therefore past it when they recorded “our house.”

    Yes, that’s what I meant. Although, yeah, it’s not clear that Crosby had much to do with the Byrds being what they were (though I recall ‘Everybody’s Been Burned’ being a pretty great song, so score one for him). And I would maintain that ‘Our House’ is worse, since it makes me want to throttle whoever wrote it and this just, you know, makes me want to quickly close the tab in which it’s playing (and not even that quickly, the song’s bearable enough).

  19. I don’t think Andrew WK was trying to make fun of anything. He seems like a genuine guy if I ever saw one. I also think anyone who disliked ‘Get Wet’ are a grumpy old.. grumpies.

  20. I never said I disliked I Get Wet — in fact, I kept my copy for a good four or five years before selling it. Just said I like plenty of actual hard rock more. (Which isn’t to say I’m not a grumpy old grump. Have been since I was 20.)

  21. [i]You know, Miccio, sometimes being a “clattery mess” can be a good thing. It is permissable for music to use noise and disorder as elements that augment rather than detract from the final product.[/i]

    You don’t say. I realize it might not be clear from what we’ve reviewed on Singles Jukebox, but I love plenty of noise and disorder in music, though I usually find it more effective in the hard rock vein of things. And just as cinema verite techniques can be effective, sometimes they’re a crutch. The only way I can see the sloppiness “augmenting” the product (“noise and disorder” feels too dramatic a phrase for the familiar indie laziness here) is if the product is an aural totem of their “how to maintain wide-eyed innocence in the age of sponsorship” live shows and videos, and not a song meant to convey more than “glee naif enthusiasm” on its own – something I’m sure Mountain Dew is cool with.

  22. And I don’t mean to suggest Matt and Kim intentionally record on the cheap and maintain weak skills for corporate gain – I’m sure the benefits of their laziness are mostly coincidental, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they clean up some for the next album. Which probably won’t do as well.

  23. And if someone wants to say “well what’s wrong with merely conveying glee naif enthusiasm?” the problem is that I already gave my cash to the International Pop Underground in the 90s.

  24. I’m not a grumpy grump, but I HAAAAAATE I Get Wet with pretty much the same passion as I hate La Roux, Dan Black et al. Andrew WK is without a doubt one of the 10 worst artists to have crossed my path this decade.

  25. He’s just so sweet, endearing, and the ideology of his music so POSITIVE. It’s like hating mother theresa.

  26. wouldn’t buy her album either

  27. would watch the youtube where she headbangs in front of angry juggalos though

  28. OK, this is getting to be a bit of a derail, but this is what every Andrew WK defender says, about the ideology being so POSITIVE and so on, as if “doing what you love” or “becoming more than yourself through partying” is a concept unique to him, hasn’t been done a million times before and a million times better, doesn’t apply to half my record collection already. It’s really not conveyed in his clumsy, lurching, neanderthal music, which strikes me as totally atavistic and regressive.

  29. Yeah, seems to me that scores of supposedly cliched cock-rockers before (not to mention disco people, new wavers, rockabillies, rappers, and most any other genre you can name) actually got more specific about what happened at the party. They were smart enough to know that using the word itself wasn’t enough, and sounds kinda dumb.

  30. Oh I just thought of a better totally unfair zing line for this song so I’ll put it here: “Damn, it feels good to be a hipster.” Okay, now I feel better.

    I have never listened to more than one Andrew W.K. song and I think I am pretty fine with that quirk of fate. I watched that MTV show where he hung out in the black college sorority though, he seems personable. Still don’t know why we’re talking about him here, even after several perusals of the comment thread. It’s like ILX Redux.

  31. I mean, I can see how he might be as good as Twisted Sister (though I’ll take “We’re Not Gonna Take It” over any song of his I heard), but to suggest he belongs anywhere near the same neighborhood as, say, AC/DC or Slade (his closest big-named antecedents, as far as I can tell) is a fucking joke.

    On the other hand, c’mon Lex, you are so much a grumpy grump. You are as grumpy as any grump around. Embrace it already!

  32. I’m only a grumpy grump when I’m on the internet and confronted with bad music! When I’m out, partying hard in fact, I am full of joie de vivre~~

  33. To be honest I would compare him to pure pop artists, not AC/DC. When he started off his first cd with an ABBA riff it should’ve been obvious. The songs are just ludicriously straight to the point catchy. Clumsy is the last word I’d use. Intensely focused, rather. Anyway sorry for causing the derail, but I’m sure not too many potential Matt & Kim comments have been lost.

  34. Well, I really don’t mind derailing myself (derailing is fun), but I gotta say Matias, what you compared AWK to above was “bullshit cock rock,” the “cliches” of which you said he was “sculpting charicatured extremes out of.” So that’s what I took off from; if you’d mentioned Abba, I probably would have just been confused and kept my mouth shut.

  35. Well bullshit cock rock isn’t AC/DC anyway. And he’s building off the cliches of it, not the actual cliched rock, if that makes sense. The image, the attitude, the live shows, they’re cock rock, but the songs and hooks and quality of it lies in its pop appeal.

  36. Things that will get critics yappin’:
    1. Crosby, Stills and Nash
    2. Andrew W.K.
    3. “Fun”

  37. Four-and-a-half months in, we’re already changin’ the game beyond all recognition.

  38. Tonight, as I semi-predicted, this song was used as soundtrack music for the uplifting ending of an episode of a mediocre NBC sitcom.

  39. You guys are just jealous u couldn’t make a song that sounds good I love it it brings back memeories and after hearing it I just want to go out and get a fresh breath of air and it opensy mind and you should support them just for giving up skateboarding cause I wouldt give that up and I suck at it

  40. Speaking as the guy who gave (and would give) this song a 10: Your arguments are specious.

  41. I don’t know, Ian: “you should support them just for giving up _______ cause I wouldn’t give that up and I suck at it” might be fruitfully applied elsewhere. (You should support Jayne County for giving up being male ’cause I wouldn’t give that up and I suck at it.)