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Matthew Mayfield - Now You're Free album review

currently: FREE MUSIC

As I've said many a time before - who doesn't love great free music?
Recently, I've had some American friends boost this music video, featuring the gorgeous Brittany Snow.
Currently this official video has a link for the first 10 million people to download Matthew Mayfield's album for free (it's all legal, don't worry). So I suggest you get the album and give it a listen - cause what will it cost you? (other than some broadband usage.) If you need more convincing, have a read of my album review for Now You're Free below :)

Matthew Mayfield - Now You're Free
Rating: B

'Now You're Free' seems to be more than a fitting title to Matthew Mayfield's first album release. With the chapter closed on his previous band, Moses Mayfield, the former lead singer has taken his talents down the solo route. And with this album, he's forging his own identity with a guitar, delicate lyrics and a great voice at hand.

The first track, Come Back Home sets an uplifting tone for the album. With the building of drums, piano and guitars in the intro of the song, the mood is a mix of playful and sweet. His voice, sounding like it had a couple of hard late nights, has a rawness and grit that give a texture to the track. As it builds into the bridge, all the layers of harmonies, melodies and the drum beat fit well together.

And while the next track, Missed Me is a surprisingly happy and upbeat tune (despite what the name would suggest), the following song Fire Escape is a complete contrast. A stand out track, this song feels like every painful resentment and heartache has been wrung into this song. The lyrics too feel like they've been squeezed from a fruit full of emotions, and stirred with Mayfield's raw gritty voice. Again, his layering of sounds with the soft vocals and the different drums work fantastically as well.

However, my favourite song from this album is the title track, Now You're Free. With a playful guitar and piano, and the hints of violin accents, the melody is captivating. Teamed up with strong lyrics and vocals, the chorus gives a punch of inspiration. And though for a couple of weeks I loved the chorus lyrics "Your breathing just sets you apart", it turned out to be the actual lyrics "You're free and it sets you apart" (which makes more logical sense). Despite my false lyrical assumptions, it didn't deter me from how fantastic and inspirational this song is. What is beautiful and unique about Matthew Mayfield's album is how individual instruments can be singled out when you are listening to his songs. Whether drums, guitar, piano, cello; each instrument can be listened into, which gives a great sense of how each sound contributes to the song.

Lyrically he is quite imaginative, but had it not been for his vocal talents, the true depth and meaning would be lost. For example, in the track Element, his lyrics are sold due to the intensity of his vocals. The softness in the verses, then crescendoing in the verse, then the build up in the bridge just gives a real emphasis and movement of his words.

My criticisms however lie in the second half of the album. While the songs are good, it is however a bit average and forgettable, not having as near an impact of its first half. Then towards the end of the album, the tracks begin to have an almost "folky" vibe that felt odd to have introduced so late in the music.

Despite all this, the stand out tracks are worth getting over the average fillers. With strengths in raw vocals, music production, and general atmospheric style, this album has a lot that he can offer for your listening pleasure. It may not be as overall strong as Moses Mayfield was - but Matthew Mayfield can sure hold his own.

Stand out tracks: Come Back Home, Fire Escape, Now You're Free, Element
For people who like: Coldplay, Jon Foreman, Mat Kearney, The Panics, The Fray, Avalanche City
(this video is pretty adorable too.)

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