Album Review: Beautiful You by Matthew Mayer

Matthew Mayer started playing the piano at the age of twelve and self-published his first album when he was twenty. With eleven albums to his credit already, Mayer is also the owner and founder of the immensely popular platform and on August 31, 2018, he will release his twelfth album, “Beautiful You.” This captivating and soul-stirring collection speaks powerfully to those of us who struggle with the pain of feeling unworthy and inadequate. “There is a simple & instrumental message I hope to get across in this album,” says Mayer. “You are Enough. There is nothing more you have to prove or pretend to have or be.” Masterfully recorded and engineered by Joe Bongiorno of Piano Haven Studios in Sedona, Arizona, the twelve tracks on this album provide twelve beautiful affirmations of self-love and acceptance.

“Raindrops of Amor,” with a flowing left hand topped by a powerful melody punctuated with luscious arpeggiated chords, gets the album off to a strong start. “Fly Little Bird” offers a musical challenge to those of us who have made the mistake of thinking we have nothing to offer the world, remaining locked (safely?) inside the cages of our own making. With sounds that shimmer like hummingbird wings on a sunny day, Mayer encourages us to spread our wings and fly; this piece is a favorite. “You Are Enough” is a song that needs no words, a simple chord progression with a strong lyrical melody that speaks its message quite plainly. “A Modern Introspection” reminds me of the conversations I have had with myself, its plaintive upper register contrasting with an argumentative bass; in the end, there is resolution. The title track, “Beautiful You,” features another strong melody with a simple accompaniment.

“Of Haunt and Hope” and “Broken Mirror” are colorful sound paintings, the deep bass octaves contrasting exquisitely with the effervescence of the high notes.“Bill Next Door” is clearly a love story left to the listener’s imagination; “Tranquility” is sweet, simple and calming. “Ordinary Way” features an undulating left hand like ripples on the surface of the water, its ebb and flow both mesmerizing and peaceful. The sense that a unique purpose awaits us is a big part of what makes life worth living, and our dreams are waiting for us to discover them, claim them, grow them and LIVE them; the track “Dreams” provides a gentle prodding to do just that. The album concludes with another favorite, “In Spirit,” which I believe would make a beautiful wedding processional, its left hand a gentle march, its sparkling right hand melody ending with the bride finally arriving at the side of her beloved.

From the whimsical cover design by Lisa Falzon of Berlin, Germany to Mayer’s effervescent performances throughout, this album is a unique and artistic contribution to the solo piano genre. Very highly recommended!

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