With a simple bass-line that pushes across the entire song like a wave in the ocean, Kevin Herig’s “Matchbox” is a hypnotizing rhythmic spell.
Herig’s smooth, relaxing voice has a rich quality that manages to be exclamatory while still being whispery. It carries enough weight in it to the tune’s lines to resonate with you:
“Your love is a thunder storm
but you are the calm
holding tight to it to keep you warm
it’s bound to burst in your palm”
The easy-going alternative song tells of a love gone away. Someone who’s been lost, but never wanted to be found. But it also tells of acceptance. The bouncy, repetitive rhythm and melody that make up almost the entire track sound contemplative and resolved. It’s a song written by somebody who has clearly looked back on a situation for some time now—someone who has reached their conclusion.
“I tried to find you
you’d been gone for so long
I found something I never knew
it was me you were hiding from”
It’s that retrospective point of view that makes the song not just musically enjoyable, but full of thought-provoking moments of lyricism.
Personally, I’ve had enough of those bluesy, whiny I-wish-you-still-loved-me folk tunes. There’s no perspective in that. What “Matchbox” brings to the table is thought-out meditation. It’s interesting to hear someone analyze their life and make decisions about it. Whether you relate to his story or not, Kevin Herig wrote an honest ode to a rocky relationship that owns up to one’s mistakes without criticizing or misunderstanding another. For a relatively new artist, who’s first album debuted in 2013, Herig is open with his audience. It shows how personal songwriting is to him. The song has an almost therapeutic quality to it.
Hidden within the song’s story are examples of quaint figurative language.
With lyrics that flow freely and a melody that quickly becomes mesmerizing, it’s easy to miss some of the tune’s finest, most definitive moments. Nonetheless, the track pulls you in again and again. After just one listen, there’s no way you didn’t get lost in the laid-back instrumentals at one point or another.
“Your love is a mountaintop
and your crown is the sun
reaching high atop a matchbox
it’ll burn your soul if you run”
Albeit, the lack of melodic variation can get in the way of hearing the story’s movement and progression, it also makes the heavy subject a little more digestible. These are the passing thoughts that can only come after the worst is over. The repetition creates a safe space for reflection to boil in up until it simmers out during the song’s hum-along finale. There’s no musical risk-taking, but there doesn’t need to be. The lines are played skillfully and purposefully, which for the song’s purpose, is more than sufficient.
“Matchbox” takes a complex subject and spins it into stripped-down stanzas that make sense of the heart’s painful emotions. While still being something you could bop your head along to, it finds space to breathe in between moments of heartbreak.