Matthew Good Band - Beautiful Midnight (Cover Artwork)

Matthew Good Band

Beautiful Midnight (1999)

Universal Canada

This isn't really a punk rock record, but it's one of the best records Americans have never heard. One of Canada's best kept secrets, the Matthew Good Band, had been kicking their shit for 4-5 years, gaining a lot of success with the previously released Underdogs, especially with the hit single/video "Apparitions." They were one of those 90's alt-rock bands with power ballads and urgent rockers but never sounded too sweet or commercial. Good's gritty lyrics and take on social and political life often made your skin crawl.

Beautiful Midnight is somewhat of a concept record, with the first track, the pounding rocker "Giant," starting at 5 P.M. and the gorgeous, somber, sad ballad "Running For Home" chiming it around sun-up. The whole record is pretty depressing as Good sings about a boy in a mental institution ("A Boy And His Machine Gun"), the homeless ("Strange Days"), suicide ("Going All The Way"), and even psychopathic killers ("Born To Kill"). The eerieness of it all is what really strikes through. Good's voice trembles, quakes and shivers while the band runs circles around his lyrics with pounding rhythms and melodic guitar parts.

The singles, "Hello Time Bomb" and the peppy rocker "Load Me Up," are the few breaks from the depressing, dark moments (although they still cover dark topics). Overall, Beautiful Midnight is one of my favorite records of all time and I hope that more Americans are able to check this out. For those who are interested, Matthew Good has since gone solo and released two great records of his own.