Windsor based musician Matt Stockl writes songs about, in his words, “life, death and ITV” – in other words, satire in music isn’t dead yet. After all, there would seem to be no better time than now for satire to be applicable. Matt’s album, I Exercised Myself to Death is a ten track rip through the weird and wonderful times that we currently live in, casting an irreverent eye over cultural norms that have come along relatively recently yet embedded themselves in our consciousness like nothing before, namely technology.
The title track is a catchy, upbeat track that takes a tongue in cheek look at modern exercise and diet fads…or is it? The track could be taken lightly whilst also being an in depth look at the pressure on young people to be physically perfect and the dangers of too much of a good thing. Either way, it’s so fast paced you’ll need a second listen to work it out.
My favourite track is the album opener, ‘Love Island‘, one of the most popular cultural talking points of the last couple of years. A beautiful acoustic melody takes a cynical look at ITV2’s reality show that has a lot of people talking; alas, I’ve never seen it but if you don’t know the premise, this track will tell you all you need.
‘Last of the Rock and Roll Sex Pests‘ explores the change in times and sexual morals over the last thirty years, namely that what was deemed the norm then is now seen in a very different light. Images of ageing rock stars trying to explain away former dodgy prior acts are present throughout, the distasteful subject matter supported by a downbeat tune. It’s deceptively easy in the light of the ‘Me Too’ movement to think that these times are long past but Matt doesn’t give us an easy pass on that, telling us if they’d known it was a crime, they would probably still have done it. Matt nails the whole subject down in one line:” turns out it wasn’t rock and roll, it was molestation.”
‘Phone Blind‘ is a short paean to the most important piece of technology most of us own – our beloved mobile phones. At one minute 42 seconds, ‘Phone Blind’ accurately describes the potentially destructive relationship many of us have with these extensions of ourselves. Gloriously witty yet poignantly ending on the line “I only have eyes for you, I’m phone blind, I step into the traffic.” In a similar vein, a lyric from ‘Dream of Fair Women’ says that “all I want is the wifi code.”
Matt Stockl is a musician with something to say and it’s something that’s worth listening to. Witty, with an ear for the sublime to the ridiculous, I Exercised Myself to Death is a refreshing take on modern life. His advice for aspiring musicians is advice for life as well as music:
“Be kind, be reasonable, leave your ego at the door. Write music that you can love and be proud of: your confidence as a performer comes from confidence in your material.”
I Exercised Myself to Death was released on 28 July. Get your copy here.
Follow Matt at: