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Watch Matthew Ryan’s Video for ‘(I Just Died) Like an Aviator': Exclusive Premiere

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Matthew Ryan is offering a glimpse of his new Hustle Up Starlings LP with the premiere of the video for the album’s first single, “(I Just Died) Like an Aviator.”

Due May 12 and available to pre-order now, Hustle Up Starlings found Ryan collaborating with Gaslight Anthem frontman Brian Fallon, who handled production and contributed guitar. The 10-track set marks Ryan’s first full-length release since 2014’s Boxers — and arrives roughly 20 years after his debut album, 1997’s May Day, adding the latest impassioned chapter to a discography filled with tunefully ragged howls against the void.

“It’s an intimate story I’m telling here. These songs are personal, but if I’m lucky and I’ve done my job, they become universal,” Ryan says of Starlings. “The story I’m living and writing about is happening in the context of this world we’re all observing and feeling right now, a world that feels like it might catch fire with all its uncertainty and friction, the ugly politics and rising impulses. … Even when the world feels like it’s about to burn down, we keep leaning for tomorrow in our own lives and stories and families. It’s all hope and perseverance. We get up and we go to work. We believe in tomorrow, even when we’re not sure what tomorrow will be.”

Echoing that theme of hope and perseverance, Ryan’s clip for “(I Just Died) Like an Aviator” — produced by New Haven, Conn.’s What Were We Thinking Films — depicts the song being performed by a group of young women. It’s undeniably jarring at first to hear Ryan’s vocals coming out of a teenage girl, but as he tells Diffuser, the unusual choice serves a dual purpose.

“As Leonard Cohen famously said, ‘I wish the women would hurry up and take over.’ And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve never liked cameras, and I’ve often worried my discomfort in front of them might imbue the song with something unintended for the viewer. So I started thinking of a workaround and had this thought,” says Ryan. “I really loved the video the National did for ‘Sea of Love,’ which was based on a Zvuki Mu video, but I’m far more earnest than that. So I had this thought about young women in our post-Trump world and how the song is essentially about perseverance.”

After conferring with director Gorman Bechard, they rounded up the video’s band — a group who, as Ryan puts it, “brought more grinning rock ‘n’ roll” to the song “than me and my gang ever could have.” Noting the subtle nods to the message expressed by the video, Ryan says he and Bechard tried to walk a line between getting their point across and simply entertaining the audience.

“We wanted to say something, but we wanted to a little fun too,” adds Ryan. “The girls killed it. And as a bonus, I’ve learned a few moves from Chloe, the ‘singer,’ which I fully intend to incorporate into the live show as soon as possible.”

Ryan will return to the road in support of Hustle Up Starlings this summer, when he’s scheduled to travel to the U.K. for a run of dates during early-to-mid July. Take a look at the complete list of currently announced shows below, watch “(I Just Died) Like an Aviator” above, and visit Ryan’s official site for more information.

Matthew Ryan 2017 Tour Dates
7/03 — Mama Roux, Birmingham, U.K.
7/04 — Sound Control, Manchester, U.K.
7/05 — King Tut’s, Glasgow, Scotland
7/07 — Think Tank, Manchester, U.K.
7/08 — Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds, U.K.
7/09 — Arts Club, Liverpool, U.K.
7/11 — Dingwalls, London, U.K.

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