Am I Hallucinating? Or Did Lana Del Rey Just Release a Song with Matt Maeson?
As someone who is becoming a fan of Alternative singer/songwriter Matt Maeson, and as a 7-year mega-fan of Lana Del Rey, this remix collaboration could not have come at a better time.
Initially released on March 30, 2018, Hallucinogenics was the first single to support his EP The Hearse. Over the last 2 years now, the song, along with his other song, (an RIAA Gold Certified) Cringe, has gained traction in the alternative music sphere and now into the public sphere.
From Virginia Beach, Maeson was born in 1993.
He grew up traveling across the country, performing with his parent’s prison ministry at maximum-security penitentiaries. American Songwriter has hailed him for “(creating) a sound unlike much else out there.”
In the meantime, Lana Del Rey was touring her acclaimed sixth studio album Norman Fucking Rockwell in November 2019. In almost every show, she would bring out a musician and sing side by side, live on stage; at the Oklahoma City stop, it was Matt Maeson’s turn to share the stage with Del Rey. They sang Hallucinogenics live and went on about their business. Well, almost a year later, we now have a studio version of this excellent collaboration remix.
To start off, the original track is one of the best combinations of guitar and a deep voice in current alternative music. You can feel Maeson’s emotional hurt throughout the track of having the need to dissociate and repress his feelings. And regardless, he has to crash back down to earth to face his realities. Whether the use of hallucinogenic is literal (in this case to escape rejection), he knows that right now, he is not good to be in a relationship. He tells his subject to find an ideal man capable of being better than he is right now:
"Go find yourself a man who's strong and tall and Christian."
I see this Maeson’s idea of a perfect man or the idea that he feels the need to be to succeed in this world? In the previous verse, he’s “rippin it with his sinners,” so he knows he is in the wrong state of mind. But its easier said than done to not only be sober from this dark feeling but be that perfect man he is telling his subject to go and search for.
With Del Rey’s voice in this version, the chorus feels like a great wave of a choir. The emotion is much more robust, accompanying Maeson’s growls and baritone vocals that is earthy and loud. All while, Del Rey’s brings a glitter of calmness to Maeson’s intensity. Del Rey, in this instance, is singing through Maeson’s point of view (aka repeating his lines). She is not responding to Maeson’s lyrics as the subject; it is as if she is trying to understand his emotion by being in his shoes.
In the first verse, both singers trade a line and then combine in the introductory chorus and first verse. And later on, the combine in the other choruses and the bridge. The guitar is the driver of the instrumental. With an accompanying bass, the only other thing you need is these two vocals. This is something rather hard to do, specially in an era where there is a plethora of music. The instrumentation and each instrument are as clean as ever. You can feel every guitar string as if you were in the studio during the tracks’ session.
I honestly wish the track was not only longer, but that Lana had more solo lines. Lana’s vocals are one of the best in a long time (I know her fansite LanaBoards.com will drag me for this, but I don’t care xo). Her vocals are reminiscent of her late 2000’s Lizzy Grant era when she first began in the music industry. With her higher register yet keeping her sultry personality, we notice a bit of a country twang, something Del Rey has started to dabble recently. And honestly, it truly fits her voice.
As someone who has listened to a lot of alternative music where it is just acoustic guitar, this track just feels right, and it shows just how good Maeson’s writing skills are. Its’ melody is different and calm, whereas some alternative tracks have to copy off each other with “ho hey'” and hand clapping.
Like Local Nomad, an artist I reviewed not long ago, it feels that the alternative landscape for men is resurging, with excellent lyric writing and natural instruments. I honestly cannot wait for the next move of both Maeson and Del Rey.
Do you agree with my assessment? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments. Support Matt Maeson with the links below.