The Tallest Man on Earth, ’1904′ – Song Review
Swedish troubadour Cristian Matsson — aka the Tallest Man on Earth — must be dogged by constant comparisons to Bob Dylan, and his latest single, ’1904,’ definitely won’t do much to change any opinions on the matter. The tune, off Matsson’s new album, ‘There’s No Leaving Now’ (out June 12), shows his impressive ability to match both the rock icon’s vocal cadence and guitar playing style.
That said, there’s much more to Matsson than a wicked Dylan impersonation. On ’1904,’ he brings together acoustic guitar strumming, dangling lead licks and some sort of bowed string instrument to create a minor folk masterpiece. ”I wanted to build something that didn’t sound like a rock band, but wasn’t super minimalistic,” he tells Rolling Stone of the ‘There’s No Leaving Now’ recording process. “I wanted a sound that had that brittle [quality], that feeling that it might just fall apart.”
’1904′ never does fall apart, but it never quite totally comes together, either. “And the only one you can tell it to / Well it’s the only one that ever knows,” Matsson sings in the bridge, seeming to refer to some mysterious turn-of-the-century event that’s the centerpiece of the song, but never actually explained. Later he reveals that something “shook the earth in 1904,” but again, doesn’t say what.
But never mind the vague lyrics and the Dylan stylings. With ’1904,’ he finds just the middle ground between sparse folk and full-fledged rock that he was looking for.
Listen to the Tallest Man on Earth’s ’1904′