Last of the Great Pretenders

Last of the Great Pretenders

Matt Nathanson is an East Coast transplant who writes of his adopted hometown of San Francisco as someone who understands what contrasts can do to a person. He doesn't take anything for granted and finds joy in the things a true native might assume can be found anywhere. The city is the backdrop for all of love's varying situations. "Earthquake Weather" is likely the happiest-sounding song to start with the line "I'd kill anyone who'd treat you as bad as I do." "Mission Bells" features a chorus that begins "I had a dream you died," while "Last Days of Summer in San Francisco" offers a sharp hook and the truism "Love/No one cares about the stories they're not in." Elsewhere, he sees a girl in a "Kinks Shirt" walking through his city. All of the songs here are presented with a commercial pop sound that ideally should guarantee them the right to be summer anthems. However, the world is a different place than the one Nathanson dreams about, and while he may toy with the girls on the streetcar in the gorgeous acoustic ballad "Sky High Honey," he's rolling with the punches in the real world like everybody else.

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