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British composer Matthew Harvey, has released his debut album Whatever Happens Next with the album also featuring West End stars Eloise Davies, Hadley Fraser, Ahmed Hamad, Tyrone Huntley, Irvine Iqbal, Alexia Khadime, Emma Kingston, Nicholas McLean, Sharon Rose, Katie Shearman and Courtney Stapleton, I was kindly given a link to review the album.
It was during the pandemic Harvey began writing, with this 8 track album supported by charity Help Musicians, Whatever Happens Next features original songs from 5 new musicals by Matthew Harvey including the critically acclaimed Now Or Never, the album has different styles such as rock, pop and musical theatre.
Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own.
Track 1, “The Road” from Now Or Never performed by Matthew Harvey, is the opener to the whole album, we start with a guitar and bass beginning, the music has a faster paced tempo while the chorus of the song gets the foot tapping, with it implementing the rocky and pop feel but also diffrent musical theatre styles to the whole album. During the verses it slows down and the music and lyrics collide which delivers great storytelling that carries all the way through. I personally feel “The Road” has expression through the dynamics, and gives a time and destiny message. Near the end of the track we get a wonderful key change which Harvey welcomes beautifully with his stunning vocal ability. The change is kind of unexpected but lifts and elevates you, with you picturing how you could visually see the song. “The Road” opens Whatever Happens Next amazingly with Harvey writing the song with pure care and with honesty, the storytelling lyrics are a delight to hear and you as a listener relish them all the way throughout the 4 minutes.
Track 5, “One Two Three” from Reveries performed by Shannon Rose begins with an intro that is an attractive slow tempo piano solo, the intro has a ‘This is Me’-esque start. The musical Reveries, which “One Two Three” comes from, the word means imaging and dreaming of pleasant things and you can definitely feel and hear this imaging theme through the lyrics. Musically the song delves into someone remembering, and a little bit of believing in themselves and also not losing hope by the lyrics “One, Two, Three of the rhythm that rescued me”, the song feels like it takes you on the story, this character is wanting to become someone and being told you can’t be someone. With the lyrics “17 I still remember when it came to me” “Whispering and hidden colours that only I could see, It called to me”, and the slowed pace and tempo start you get an automatic idea of the mood of the song, you instantly know that this is going to be one of your favourites from the whole album. The whole song gives you this extraordinary warm feeling throughout near to the end of the song when the music gets heightened with tempo and key changes it brings a smile to your face. For me personally it gave me a sense of joyous and capable feeling, Rose delivers intensity to the song, and clearly articulates the lyrics with emotion. The song is admirable and is full of greatness lyrically, they are true to life and believable, the song is one of those songs you would listen to to strive for success and musically it's uplifting with sheer brilliance!
Track 7, “Twist My Words” from the musical Unplugged sung by Eloise Davies, explores relationships with leaving them and the words said within a relationship and how easily words can be twisted and change the meaning and also mistakes and forgiveness. This one song that is mainly slow on the album and doesn’t change in tempo, lyrically there's textural meaning behind which is heartbreaking to hear, the song is only really played from piano mainly and guitar with string instruments. All the instruments for this track beautifully match and collide remarkably well with the lyrics and Davies vocals. Davies delivers a soft but also gutsy vocal using various techniques such as the vocal cry to express the emotional and a diminuendo right at the very end. The meaning of this song is believable, some slow songs are needed to be seen live to be believed. This one doesn't get it straight away you can picture the moment on stage in the front of your mind, Davies gives a vocally visual performance. Lyrically, it’s heart and it’s soul, it’s everything that a song like this could ask for, true to life on what you would say. I like how it’s from the opposite perspective. It's not from the point of view of someone who has done wrong and we never ever get that so it’s ultimately a bold and daring move to write that way, but it perfectly scores 10s all round.
The whole album is marvellous, with so many different takes of stories of different lives and styles, such as “As Far As We Get” from Now or Never, which is a sort of cute song about sort of adventuring places with someone and just going with flow by the line “you only get so far when if your always planning ahead”, it's a fun little song that is fun to listen to. Harvey composers terrific music across all 8 songs, all are definitely beautifully written and stand out on their own. The majority of the songs feel like not just musical theatre songs but pop songs that could be heard on the radio, the songs speak for themselves and are individually excelient and amirable, it feels these songs are a starting point for a new age for the musical theatre genre. Harvey knows the feeling he wants to deliver and delivers just that understanding the genre, you don’t just listen to the songs you feel them in every way, the songs are rememrable and are quite simply remarkable Harvey has put this writing on the mark and Whatever Happens Next is some of his best already! He’s one to watch in years to come…watch this space.
To listen to the full album click the link below.