Music seems to run through Jason Matkin’s veins. In high school, Matkin taught himself how to play the electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboards, drums, ukulele and mandolin. Since the age of eight, Matkin has also been playing the piano, thanks to his mother, a former professional choir singer from South Korea. These skills have been put to use on his debut album, Forget the Dark, a refined, yet emotionally stirring and raw album.
On Forget the Dark, Matkin is unabashedly youthful. Evident from his lyrics, Matkin constantly absorbs his surroundings like a sponge. This album seems to be an outlet for everything he has retained and is desperate to release. His musical talent forms the backbone for this acoustic, singer songwriter album, but through lyrics, Matkin makes his statement.
This album sounds like a recently scabbed wound that remains itchy on the sides as it heals. Each track on Forget the Dark expresses vulnerability, and often, sadness. Through this vulnerability, Forget the Dark is deeply personal, but also relatable. It forces the listener to re-evaluate their own past experiences and relationships, feel the feels and get a bit salty eyed. So be warned.
Lyrically, Matkin sounds like a softer Ben Howard, The instrumentals remind one of Wake Owl or the Lumineers. On the track, “Hide Away,” Matkin sings that “silence is a virtue because the things we say are untrue and the honest are the ones who rose so high.” These lyrics represent themes of uncertainty and path-finding present on the album.
Matkin expresses his struggle to understand himself all while dealing with the hazards on the bridge between youth and adulthood. On occasion, Matkin’s lyrics verge on being overworked, with a few too many metaphors, similes and idioms, which can come off as cliches.
This fall, Matkin will be a junior at the University of California, San Diego. At the age of sixteen, Dave Matthews described him as “clearly an accomplished songwriter.” Matkin undisputedly has talent and youth on his side. It will be exciting to see where he goes next.
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