Review: Matt Maltese – ‘Ballad of a Pandemic’

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Matt Maltese has created a song which provides the perfect level of reassurance required during this time.

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Matt Maltese is well known for his songs being simultaneously sad and comedic. His lyrics are simply unbeatable, as has been proven in albums such as Krystal.

‘Ballad of a Pandemic’ is exactly what it sounds like – a song to get through the current situation. Maltese successfully addresses many feelings which are increasingly common amongst the population, particularly in his gorgeous vocals in the returning theme, “I’m scared”, which is sung in a unique and beautiful ascending broken chord pattern. Maltese has also successfully managed to be both comedic and reassuring, through his references to “a fake tin hat” and a “disinfected scarf”. The chorus is especially heart-warming, as he sings “Help your neighbour, even if they’re not nice”. It seems the entire song is jam-packed with extremely relevant lines, and it is incredible that isolation has created such a gorgeous, funny, catchy, reassuring song filled with communal spirit.

One of the most memorable aspects of this song is the ending. Layered vocals singing out “help your neighbour, even if they’re hostile” creates quite a loud and powerful sound, but this volume is cut out in the final verse, where Maltese admits that he’s “borderline too mushy about this”.

Aside from Maltese’s vocals and lyrics, the accompaniment is certainly just as noteworthy. It’s definitely more similar to Krystal than his first album Bad Contestant, due to the somewhat experimental aspects of the timbres throughout. Unusually, the accompaniment is strings rather than a piano. However, this proves that Maltese is just as powerful without his piano. His vocals reign strongly past the guitar chords, and every single feature of the song combines perfectly with each other to create a song which everyone should listen to at least once during this lockdown.

‘Ballad of a Pandemic’ is available to listen to now via sevenfoursevensix.

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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